From don’t wear masks to do, from herd immunity is achievable to it isn’t, Dr. Anthony Fauci has taken a lot of different stances on COVID-19.
But the top U.S. immunologist has finally made an unequivocal declaration: COVID-19 is here to stay.
“This is not going to be eradicated and it’s not going to be eliminated. And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take in going to indoor dinners and in going to functions,” Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
“We’re at that point where in many respects … we’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” he said. “So you’re going to make a question and an answer for yourself, for me as an individual, for you as an individual. What is my age? What is my status? Do I have people at home who are vulnerable that if I bring the virus home there may be a problem?”
The doctor also said the best way to mitigate the virus is to get vaccinated.
“If you’re not, to get boosted if you’re eligible to be boosted. If you’re in the certain group like the CDC’s recent determination about people 50 and older, and individuals with underlying conditions, get that fourth boost, which, by the way, we really need to concentrate a lot more on that, about getting new tests, getting drugs, getting vaccines which I hope the Congress comes through and gives us the resources so that as we get into what might be another surge that we’re prepared with the — all of the tools that we need to address it,” Fauci said.
Back in March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) was telling everyone COVID-19 was mostly a surface transmission virus, Fauci declared, “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask.”
“When you’re in the middle of an outbreak, wearing a mask might make people feel a little bit better and it might even block a droplet, but it’s not providing the perfect protection that people think that it is,” the doctor said on CBS News.
While experts didn’t know early on in the pandemic exactly how many Americans would need antibodies to reach herd immunity, experts put the number ranged from more than 50% to upwards of 70%. Early on in the pandemic, Fauci put the number at 60% to 70%, but in December of 2020, he started upping that number, saying in an interview with CNBC News that it would be “75, 80, 85 percent.”
“People were getting confused and thinking you’re never going to get the infections down until you reach this mystical level of herd immunity, whatever that number is,” he told The New York Times at the time. “That’s why we stopped using herd immunity in the classic sense. I’m saying: Forget that for a second. You vaccinate enough people, the infections are going to go down.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected].