Fauci says US may be on ‘threshold’ of living with Covid

By Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr Anthony Fauci said the US is approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, with cases surging across the country.

The chief medical adviser to the president, while speaking at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) on Tuesday, said almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant but the vaccinated will fare better.

“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said.

Dr Fauci added that there was no way the country was going to eradicate the virus given its nature to constantly mutate amid a large population of unvaccinated people.

Responding to a question about whether the pandemic has entered a new phase, he said this would only happen when “there’ll be enough protection in [the] community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person.”

“When we get there, there’s that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now,” he pointed out.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, over 63 per cent of the country’s eligible population has been completely vaccinated, while only 23 per cent have taken the additional booster dose.

Driven by the Omicron variant, the US has been reporting record-high numbers. The US reported more than a million cases on Monday, with at least 1,700 virus-related deaths on an average each day.

There were over 136,604 people hospitalised across the country with Covid, surpassing the record 132,051 hospitalisations in January last year, Reuters reported.

Hospitalisation of children under the age of five and infected with the virus soared in the past week to the highest levels since the onset of the pandemic.

Dr Fauci, earlier at a Senate committee hearing, said the US faced an “urgent need” for a so-called super vaccine that would be more effective at preventing new variants.

“Looking ahead in the context of the inevitable continual emergence of new variants, the importance of developing a pan-coronavirus vaccine, namely one that would be effective against all SARS-CoV-2 [the scientific name for the novel coronavirus that causes Covid] variants, and ultimately against all coronaviruses, becomes even more apparent,” he had told senators.

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