Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Sunday that he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic will get worse and told Americans to expect a post-holiday season “surge.”
“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge or as I’ve described it, a surge upon a surge,” Fauci told CNN anchor Dana Bash on “State of the Union.”
Asked by Bash if he thinks the “worst is still yet to come,” Fauci said, “I do.”
“If you look at the slope, the incline of cases we’ve experienced as we’ve got into the late fall and soon-to-be early winter, it really is quite troubling,” said Fauci, an immunologist who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and on the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
But Fauci said vaccines to prevent the virus should reach most Americans by the end of April, even though the goal of 20 million doses for December will not be reached. “I believe we’ll catch up with the projection that by the time we get to April, mid-late April, you’ll have taken the high-priority people and already accounted for them, and then anyone can get vaccinated,” Fauci said.
Meanwhile, Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said he, too, expects a post-holiday increase in cases.
“We always see a little bit of a bump after holidays and sometimes a large bump. But what the important thing for people to understand is that even if you traveled, it doesn’t mean you just throw your hands up in the air and say, oh well. There are measures that you can take. And the CDC, I’d like to remind people, recommends that three to five days after travel or after you’ve been around people without a mask on, you go out and get tested,” Adams said on ABC’s “This Week.”
“But here’s what the American people most need to know, mitigation works,” he said. “The science shows that it works. So if you’re worried about a new, potentially more contagious variant, it is that much more important that we follow the four W’s, wear a mask, wash your hands, watch your distance, and the fourth one is, wait on gatherings, especially with one last holiday coming up, New Year’s. We need to be very careful.”
Pfizer’s vaccine, the first in the U.S., was approved by the FDA for emergency use authorization (EUA) on Dec. 11. The FDA on Dec. 18 also approved Moderna’s EUA request. Both are now being distributed.
Moderna said its data showed their vaccine was 95% effective in its late-stage clinical trial, the same as Pfizer’s. The Moderna vaccine was developed in conjunction with the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
A key advantage of Moderna’s vaccine is that it does not need sub-zero storage like Pfizer’s, which needs to be stored at -94 degrees.
A third vaccine is also in the pipeline. AstraZeneca and Oxford University on Nov. 23 said their jointly created COVID-19 vaccine has proven to be up to 90% effective. That vaccine is expected to roll out as early as Monday.