Dr. Anthony S. Fauci warned about the inevitability of another pandemic only this time, one that is much deadlier than COVID, telling a leading scientific journal that the idea gives him nightmares.
The celebrity immunologist shared his thoughts in an editorial published in Science Translational Medicine titled “What keeps me up at night” in which he bemoaned “misinformation and disinformation” and “vaccine hesitancy” during the COVID pandemic and suggested that the U.S. could be ill-prepared for the next global outbreak of a yet unspecified virus.
In his piece, the recently retired career bureaucrat who headed up the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for nearly four decades said that prior to the pandemic, what kept him up at night was the “possibility of the emergence of a brand-new pathogen” and that post-COVID, his nightmare continues to be about an “emerging pathogen of pandemic potential.”
This week, Anthony Fauci argues that the world must heed the harsh lessons learned from the #COVID19 pandemic—for both scientific research and public health strategy—to prepare for the inevitable emergence of the next #pandemic pathogen. @gumedcenter https://t.co/KFO53UBap7 pic.twitter.com/roYs3cBqaa
— Science Translational Medicine (@ScienceTM) October 19, 2023
“Despite the waning of the pandemic, we must not become complacent that the pandemic is behind us, because we have been surprised before by the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 variants that have eluded the protection afforded by prior vaccination or infection,” Fauci wrote, adding that reflecting on lessons learned will “reduce the likelihood that we will be ‘kept awake’ at night by another devastating, emergent pathogen.”
According to the former top U.S. public health official, the challenge for the “next inevitable pandemic” will be overcoming fleeting “corporate memory” after deaths drop to an “acceptable” level “if we are to successfully address the next challenge of an emerging pathogen of pandemic potential.”
“Hopefully, corporate memory of COVID-19 will endure and trigger a sustained interest and support of both the scientific and public health buckets. If not, many of us will be spending a lot of time awake in bed or having nightmares when asleep!” Fauci wrote.
In the piece, Fauci lamented the non-compliance of the unvaccinated and those who resisted draconian measures such as mask mandates and lockdowns, suggesting that a lack of complete censorship and total government control of the message was a hindrance to a “fully successful public health response” in the United States.
“Misinformation and disinformation proved to be the enemy of good public health implementation not only in the United States but also in many countries throughout the world. The negative impact of vaccine hesitancy on the part of certain segments of the U.S. population was manifested in high rates of hospitalization and deaths that became clear after the rollout of highly effective vaccines,” he said.
“Inconsistencies in accepting and sustaining mitigation methods such as masking, distancing, and lockdowns caused confusion and lack of acceptance of public health recommendations,” Fauci wrote. “In addition, the profound degree of political divisiveness, particularly in the United States, was antithetical to a fully successful public health response.”
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