Not so fast, Mr. President. Outgoing Presidential COVID adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci on Monday backtracked on President Biden’s claim that the coronavirus pandemic is over.
Much depends on how we respond to current variables and future virus variants, said a leading national infectious disease expert during a fireplace chat with representatives Center for Strategic and International Studies. And much of it depends on the American people.
“How we react and how we are prepared for these variants to evolve will be up to us,” said Fauci. “And this leads to another contradictory aspect of this – there is a lack of uniform acceptance of the interventions that are available to us in this country, where even now, more than two years, nearly three years, since the outbreak, we only have 67% of our population vaccinated, and only half of them received a single injection.
Biden cited the decline in infections, d*aths, and hospitalizations, as well as the fact that people were loosening their protective protocols when he spoke to “60 minutes” presenter Scott Pelley.
“The pandemic is over,” Biden said in response to Pelley’s question during an interview that aired Sunday night.
Fauci had a slightly more subdued approach.
“We’re not where we should be if we’re going to quote ‘live with the virus’ because we know we’re not going to eradicate it,” Fauci said. “The next question we ask is, ‘Will we be able to eliminate him from our country or most of the world?’ and the response is unlikely because it is highly infectious and the immunity induced by vaccine or infection is also transient. ‘
COVID-19 still kills nearly 400 people a day, and while the pandemic is “headed in the right direction,” that does not preclude a resurgence caused by another variant, Fauci said.
The phase of the coronavirus outbreak pandemic certainly seems to be waning, even World Health Organization CEO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week.
“We’re not there yet, but the end is near,” he said at a press conference in Geneva.
It is unclear to what extent this decline is due to the fact that cases were simply not detected, given that countries around the world have loosened their protocols in recent weeks and months, even after taking over the omicron BA.5 variant.
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