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‘We Don’t Want To Pooh-Pooh Getting Infected’: Fauci Says Americans Should Consider Precautions
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, testifies at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The committee will hear testimony about the federal response to COVID-19 and new, emerging variants. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)
Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday that Americans should still be considering taking precautions — especially with regard to large events — as COVID-19 cases were once again on the rise.

Fauci joined host Jonathan Karl on ABC’s “This Week” to discuss the recent spikes in cases as well as the alarming number of people who have tested positive for the virus in President Joe Biden’s inner circle, raising questions about the protocols in place to protect him.

“Let me ask you about the spike we’ve seen right here in Washington,” Karl began, noting that he and Fauci had both been at the recent Gridiron Dinner, after which 67 or so of the 600 attendees — nearly ten percent — had tested positive for COVID-19.

Karl noted that no one who had attended the dinner and then tested positive had been reported to be “seriously ill,” but the concern was that case numbers would continue to rise.

“What is the lesson here? Should we not be holding events like this or, to the point we just talked about, is it time to accept that we can have an event like this but there’s gonna be a risk?” Karl asked, adding, “Some people will test positive, if everybody’s vaccinated, you know, it won’t necessarily be that serious.”

Fauci replied that people certainly needed to be aware of the risk but that they needed to  assess that and make decisions for themselves based on that information. He also argued that the people in charge of planning large events like the Gridiron Dinner should consider the impact as well as current trends and CDC guidelines when they did so.

Fauci went on to note that there were plenty of events where proof of vaccination and proof of a negative test were required, suggesting that was a viable option moving forward as well.

“We don’t want to pooh-pooh getting infected. I think people sometimes say, ‘Well, it’s OK to get infected.’ No, it’s not,” Fauci continued, saying that while people should be able to assess their own risk level, they should not consider getting infected to be an acceptable risk because of issues like the potential for long COVID or for significant illness — even if that illness did not require hospitalization.

“They may be at home, they may require a doctor consultation, but they don’t get hospitalized,” Fauci explained. “That’s not something to pooh-pooh.”

Karl went on to ask about the people in the president’s inner circle — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Attorney General Merrick Garland — who tested positive in recent days, but Fauci said he believed the health and safety protocols in place were enough to protect Biden.

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