Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday morning that COVID-19 might mutate into a “monster variant” capable of sending fully vaccinated people to the hospital, in what seems like a sharp contrast to how he answered the same question just one week ago.
Dr. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical advisor, has seemingly answered the question of whether a new variant may emerge that one day will overcome the currently authorized COVID-19 vaccine in an ever-changing variety of ways, with contrasting emphases, for months.
On Tuesday morning, MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski warned about potentially deadly “breakthrough cases” — instances in which someone who is fully vaccinated gets COVID-19 — before asking Fauci “where this virus could go.”
She added, “I’m hearing anecdotally, through people I know, about breakthrough cases that are really serious — that end up with people being on ventilators. These are people who are vaccinated but still got Covid.”
“What is the potential that this spirals beyond [the] Delta [variant] to monster variant?” she asked on the Tuesday episode of “Morning Joe.”
Fauci responded, “Well, there’s always a risk, as you get more circulation of virus in the community, that you’ll get enough accumulation of new mutations to get a variant substantially different than the ones we’re seeing now.”
“You’re vaccinating now to prevent the next mutant coming, the next variant from coming,” he continued.
Fauci said that “protecting the community” is “yet again another reason” to get vaccinated. “You don’t want to see more variants come in, because then it would, in many respects, negate some of the very positive protection that you get from the vaccines.”
Dr. Fauci’s decision to affirm, rather than push back against, the threat of a looming “monster variant” differs from how he addressed the same subject, on the same network, just seven days ago.
On last Tuesday’s episode of MSNBC’s “The ReidOut,” host Joy Reid shared her fear with Dr. Fauci that, if the virus continues to mutate, “I’m worried it will be unbeatable.”
“Are you worried that we’re going to have a nightmare this winter, as these variants continue to evolve?” she asked Dr. Fauci. “Are we getting close to one that can beat all of our vaccines?”
“Well, I’m not saying we’re close to that, Joy,” Dr. Fauci responded. “I think that would be a stretch to say that.”
While he added that “there’s always the danger that that could happen,” he seemed to dismiss the concern last week, and displayed little sense of an imminent variant that could hospitalize or kill vaccinated people.
But that answer seems to contrast with Dr. Fauci’s response to the same question on ABC’s “Good Morning America” last month.
On August 2, George Stephanopoulos asked Dr. Fauci, “Are we facing this endless cycle where we’re seeing endless variants popping up that evade the vaccines?”
“That will happen, George, if we don’t get good control over the community spread,” Dr. Fauci replied. “If we don’t crush the outbreak to the point of getting the overwhelming proportion of the population vaccinated, then what will happen is the virus will continue to smolder through the fall into the winter, giving it ample chance to get a variant … is much more severe. Then we could really be in trouble.”
He also said that, while the newer variants are more readily transmissible between people, it is “less clear” that the variant “actually makes individuals more seriously ill” — something he did not tell Brzezinksi on Tuesday.
Dr. Fauci seems to be creating new variants of his answer each time the question is posed to him.
Altogether 11,440 fully vaccinated people have been hospitalized with COVID-19, and another 2,675 have died as of September 7, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Importantly, not all hospitalizations and deaths of those fully vaccinated and diagnosed with COVID-19 are due to COVID-19 or have a known cause at the time of reporting,” according to an analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation in July. It noted that the hospitalization rate among fully vaccinated people who experienced breakthrough cases of COVID-19 “ranged from effectively zero (0.00%) in California, Delaware, D.C., Indiana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Vermont, and Virginia to 0.06% in Arkansas.”
The federal government says the COVID-19 vaccine offers protection from all known variants.
“To date, no unexpected patterns have been identified in the case demographics or vaccine characteristics among people with reported vaccine breakthrough infections,” the CDC reports.
“COVID-19 vaccines are effective,” the CDC maintains.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.