The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said this week that governments use lockdowns to “get people vaccinated.”
Fauci, who served on former President Donald Trump’s White House Coronavirus Task Force and is now President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser on COVID-19, discussed coronavirus lockdowns in China on Wednesday during an interview on MSNBC.
China has either partially or fully locked down at least 44 cities across the country in attempts to curb the Omicron variant, according to CNN, sparking desperation from citizens in Shanghai locked in their homes for weeks.
Fauci said that China has a “number of problems,” noting that the country’s strict lockdowns would never be able to be implemented in the United States, “although that prevents the spread of infection.”
“I remember early on they were saying, and I think accurately, that they were doing better than almost anyone else,” Fauci said.
“But lockdown has its consequences,” he continued. “You use lockdowns to get people vaccinated so that when you open up, you won’t have a surge of infections, because you are dealing with an immunologically naive population, to the virus, because they’ve not really been exposed because of the lockdown.”
The vaccines that the Chinese have been using are not nearly as effective as vaccines used in the United States and the United Kingdom, he noted.
Fauci also said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that Americans should still be taking precautionary measures against the coronavirus, particularly in regard to large events.
“We don’t want to pooh-pooh getting infected,” Fauci said, suggesting that large events require proof of vaccination or a negative test. “I think people sometimes say, ‘Well, it’s OK to get infected.’ No, it’s not.”
“They may be at home, they may require a doctor consultation, but they don’t get hospitalized,” Fauci added. “That’s not something to pooh-pooh.”
While officials have expressed concerns about COVID-19 cases emerging among Washington, D.C., elite and Philadelphia reinstated its mask mandate earlier this week, there does not seem to be indications of a larger surge throughout the country yet.
“We’re at that point where in many respects … we’re going to have to live with some degree of virus in the community,” Fauci said Sunday. “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?”
“If you’re not, to get boosted if you’re eligible to be boosted,” he added. “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.”