Even though most Americans are sick of it, the top U.S. immunologist says we’ll all be dealing with COVID for decades.
“We’re in a pattern now. If somebody says, ‘You’ll leave when we don’t have COVID anymore,’ then I will be 105,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told Politico, which dubbed the statement a “startling admission.”
“I think we’re going to be living with this,” said Fauci, an immunologist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases 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.
Fauci’s comments come after he announced that he doesn’t anticipate being in the job at the end of Biden’s first term, which is January 20, 2025.
The 81-year-old, who is the highest paid government employee, said in May that he would not stay in the job if Trump were to return for a second presidential term.
Back in April, Fauci declared that the “pandemic phase” of COVID was over.
Fauci sat down with Judy Woodruff of “PBS NewsHour,” who asked Fauci: “Here we are. It’s the end of April. It’s the spring of 2022. How close are we to the end of the pandemic?”
“We are certainly, right now, in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci replied. “Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.”
“So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are,” he added.
But the next day, Fauci walked it all back.
“We are in a different moment of the pandemic,” Fauci told the Associated Press. While the U.S. has “decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase” of the virus, he added, “by no means does that mean the pandemic is over.”
Fauci did more damage control, telling The Washington Post: “The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that.”
On Sunday, White House COVID coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha declared the new BA.5 subvariant of COVID “the most immune evasive” and urged older Americans and those with compromised immune systems to take a booster shot.
The vaccines and boosters that Americans took were targeted at the original strain, and while it offers protection from severe illness with other variants, Jha said that is limited.
“We’re still seeing some protection against infection but not as much,” Jha told ABC “This Week” co-anchor Martha Raddatz. “This is that immune evasive nature of this virus. So if you got your booster let’s say last November or December, you don’t have as much protection against this virus as you’d like.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent for a national newspaper. He was also the a.m. editor of the Drudge Report for four years. Send tips to email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.