Fauci predicts when the US Omicron wave will finally peak

·2 min read
File: Dr Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, seen here during Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee hearing on 11 January 2022 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
File: Dr Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser, seen here during Senate Health, Education, Labour and Pensions Committee hearing on 11 January 2022 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Anthony Fauci has said that the pandemic is heading in the “right direction” even as Covid-19 cases surged across the US, fuelled by the Omicron variant.

The White House’s chief medical adviser, however, cited areas hit early, like the US northeast, that have been reporting declining cases.

“Things are looking good. We don’t want to get overconfident, but they look like they’re going in the right direction right now,” Dr Fauci said in an interview with ABC’s This Week on Sunday.

The country has, in recent weeks, seen record cases and hospitalisations as Omicron cases have surged.

As of Saturday, the US recorded a total of 70,206,220 cases and 862,494 deaths.

The US’s top infectious diseases expert, however, said a turnaround is expected next month even as there will be variations across the country.

“If the pattern follows the trend that we’re seeing in other places, such as the northeast, I believe that you will start to see a turnaround throughout the entire country,” Dr Fauci said.

“Since it’s a large country and a great deal of variation in the degree of vaccinations that we have in one region compared to another… there may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalisations in those areas of the country that have not been fully vaccinated or have not gotten boosters.”

He added that – while it was not possible to predict the end of the pandemic – if vaccinations and booster doses continue to be taken, then Covid can come under an “area of control” where it becomes just another respiratory disease.

He said that the area of control implies “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.”

“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,” he added.

While the Omicron surge has affected those areas hard where vaccinations have been low, Dr Fauci said it is not clear now whether a fourth vaccine shot will be necessary yet.

“We may need to boost again, but before we make that decision, we want to determine what the durability is,” he said.

US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data showed 63.4 per cent of the country to be fully vaccinated, with 39.9 per cent having received booster doses.