Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to warn the public how COVID-19 cases, especially the very contagious omicron variant, will likely continue to rise in the United States.
“Every day it goes up and up. The last weekly average was about 150,000 and it likely will go much higher,” Fauci told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl.
While Fauci stated how studies reveal omicron is less severe in terms of hospitalizations, he urged “we don’t want to get complacent” because “when you have such a high volume of new infections, it might override a real diminution in severity.”
“If you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity, that might kind of neutralize the positive effect of having less severity when you have so many more people,” he continued. “And we’re particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class … those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people.”
Fauci admitted how he is frustrated with at-home test availability.
“The beginning of the year, there were essentially no rapid point of care home tests available. Now, there are over nine of them and more coming,” Fauci said.
“The production of them has been rapidly upscaled, and yet because of the demand that we have, which in some respects, Jon, is good, that we have a high demand because we should be using testing much more extensively than we have.”
“But the situation where you have such a high demand, a conflation of events, omicron stirring people to get appropriately concerned and wanting to get tested as well as the fact of the run on tests during the holiday season — we’ve obviously got to do better,” he continued. “I think things will improve greatly as we get into January. But that doesn’t help us today and tomorrow.”
When asked about the FDA granting emergency authorization to both Pfizer and Merck’s antiviral pills to treat COVID-19, Fauci enthusiastically bolstered their efforts.
“That’s part of the comprehensive approach to this outbreak. Vaccines and boosters, masks and now very importantly, a highly effective therapy is really going to make a major, major difference,” Fauci went on. “We’ve just got to make sure that there’s the production of enough of that product that we can get it widely used for those who need it as quickly as possible.”
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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