- Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, had to temper President Biden’s remarks about the pandemic being “over.”
- Fauci said that the country is still not where it needs to be, given the daily death rates and 67% vaccination rate.
- He said that while complete eradication of the ever-evolving virus is unlikely, we can get to a level of normalcy through preparation and swift response.
President Joe Biden declared the pandemic to be “over” during an interview that aired Sunday. But according to infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, the U.S. is still not where it needs to be when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The president told CBS‘ “60 Minutes” host Scott Pelley, “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it… but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”
A day after the president’s interview was broadcast, Fauci, who is also Biden’s top COVID-19 adviser, tempered the president’s remarks during a talk with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Fauci explained that the COVID-19 situation very much depends on how the U.S. prepares for and responds to future variants of the coronavirus.
He also said that vaccine hesitancy could play a part in it, stating, “Even now, more than two years, close to three years, into the outbreak, we have only 67 percent of our population vaccinated and only one-half of those have received a single boost.”
He added that while the number of deaths has gone down from last year, there is still an average of over 400 COVID-19 deaths per day.
“We are not where we need to be if we’re going to be able to, quote, ‘live with the virus,’ because we know we’re not going to eradicate it,” he continued.
Fauci explained this by highlighting the differences between the coronavirus and the smallpox virus.
In the case of the smallpox virus, vaccines and previous infections were able to provide “immunity that lasts for decades and possibly a lifetime” because the virus didn’t change “even from century to century.”
When it comes to COVID-19, however, it will be difficult to be fully rid of it because of the way the virus keeps evolving into unpredictable variants that can still affect people who were previously infected or vaccinated. This “unusual” situation requires vaccine manufacturers to develop booster shots specifically designed to prevent severe cases of new variants.
Fauci concluded that since a complete eradication will be unlikely, what we can do is to “get it to a level of control that’s low enough that it doesn’t disrupt our social order and essentially dominate what happens in society.”
He said that we “are heading in that direction,” but he advised caution since it is very likely that more variants will develop in the coming seasons.
Source: The Hill