Fauci ‘confident’ most states will hit Omicron peak by mid-February, claims things ‘going in right direction’

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Dr. Anthony Fauci claimed Sunday that he is “as confident as you can be” that most states in the U.S. will reach a peak in Omicron cases over the next several weeks.

“You never want to be overconfident when you’re dealing with this virus,” Fauci said in an appearance on ABC’s This Week. “But if you look at the patterns that we’ve seen in South Africa, in the U.K., and in Israel… they’ve peaked and [are] starting to come down rather sharply.”

While he acknowledged that some states, particularly in the south and west part of the nation, have continued to see an increase in Omicron infections, he predicted “if the pattern follows the trend that we are seeing in other places, such as the northeast, I believe that you will start to see a turn around throughout the entire country.”

When asked about a long-term strategy in dealing with COVID and its variants, Fauci said, “What we would hope, that, as we get into the next weeks to months or so, we’ll see throughout the entire country, the level of infection get to below what I call that area of control. And there’s a big bracket of control. Control means you’re not eliminating it, you’re not eradicating it, but it gets down to such a low level that it’s essentially integrated into the general respiratory infections that we have learned to live with.”

“I mean,” he continued, “we’d like them not to be present, but they’re there. But they don’t disrupt society. They don’t create a fear of severe outcomes that are broad. You’ll always get some severe outcomes with respiratory infections, even in a good, pre-COVID era. We’ve always had that. We’d like it to get down to that level, where it doesn’t disrupt us, in the sense of getting back to a degree of normality. That’s the best case scenario.”

But, Fauci warned, we must also be prepared for the worst case scenario.

“I’m not saying it’s going to happen,” he said, “but we have to be prepared… [in case we] get yet another variant that has characteristics that would be problematic, like a high degree of transmissibility, or a high degree of virulence.”

Still, Fauci remains hopeful, citing more people who are getting vaccinated and boosted, an increase in supplies of effective therapies, and the availability of a half-a-billion tests coming out now, with a half-billion more expected soon.

“If we have those things in place — vaccines, testing, masks, therapy — we could keep it at that low level,” Fauci concluded. “That would be the best case scenario.”

“We do know … that, even with Omicron, boosting makes a major, major difference in protecting you from hospitalization and severe outcomes,” Fauci said. “So things are looking good. We don’t want to get over confident, but they look like they are going in the right direction right now.”

Melissa Fine


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