Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, sounded cautiously optimistic on Sunday that the Omicron surge was peaking nationwide in the United States and that coronavirus cases could fall to manageable levels in the coming months.
“What we hope,” Dr. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser for Covid-19, said during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” “is that as we enter the next few weeks or months or so, we’ll see across the country the level of infection dropping below what I call this control zone.
That didn’t mean eradicating the virus, Dr. Fauci said. The infections will continue. “They are there but they are not disrupting society,” he said. “It’s the best-case scenario.”
Similar to rapid increases and then declines in Omicron cases in South Africa and Britain, new cases in the United States are now declining in the northeast and upper Midwest. “There are still states in the southern states and the western states that are still going up,” Dr. Fauci said, “but if the pattern follows the trend we’re seeing in other places like the Northeast, I believe you will begin to see a turnaround across the country.
As of Saturday, more than 705,700 new cases on average were being identified each day, an increase of 8% over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. National hospitalizations are averaging 159,500 a day, a record high and an increase of about 25%. The average number of new deaths is now 2,152 per day, up 41%.
“There may be a bit more pain and suffering with hospitalizations in parts of the country that haven’t been fully vaccinated or haven’t been reinforced,” Dr. Fauci said. Hospitals in several parts of the country are struggling to keep up after multiple surges and staffing shortages, including in Mississippi, where nearly all of the state’s acute care hospitals have been pushed to capacity.
About this data
Sources: National and local health agencies (cases, deaths); US Department of Health and Human Services (hospitalizations).
He indicated that it would be wise to stay prepared for the possibility of what he called “the worst case scenario”. “I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but we have to be prepared,” he said, describing the situation as “we’re getting yet another variant that has characteristics that would be problematic, like a high degree of transmissibility or a high degree of transmissibility”. degree of virulence.
But overall, he says, “things are looking good. We don’t want to be overconfident, but they seem to be going in the right direction at the moment.
Asked about possible fourth strikes for the Americans, Dr Fauci said it was too early to know the durability of the protection from the first round of recalls. On Friday, data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine recalls were keeping infected Americans who had all three doses out of hospitals.
The United States, with only 63% of its population fully immunized, lags behind other developed countries and has a large, and sometimes vocal, vaccine-resistant population.
On Sunday, thousands of protesters marched against vaccination mandates at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, in a rally organized by a group called Defeat the Mandates: An American Homecoming. The rally drew conservatives and fringe groups from across the political spectrum, including a wide range of conspiracy theorists.
Some protesters used Holocaust images. Speakers included JP Sears, a conservative conspiracy theorist, YouTube celebrity and comedian; Dr. Robert Malone, infectious disease researcher and vaccine skeptic; and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the political scion and prominent anti-vaccine activist.