Video source: YouTube, CBS News
White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci believes the US will not emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic until next spring — at the earliest — and only if an “overwhelming majority” of people get vaccinated against the virus.
During a CNN appearance Monday night, Dr. Fauci predicted the coming months will remain difficult, with high caseloads and fatalities, particularly in areas where most people remain unvaccinated.
“If we can get through this winter and get the majority, the overwhelming majority of people who have not been vaccinated vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022,” Dr. Fauci told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“As we get into the spring, we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely resuming the things that we were hoping we could do, restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing,” he said.
With only a little over half of Americans fully vaccinated and about 90 million eligible people so far refusing to get the shot, Dr. Fauci said it is impossible to predict accurately when the end will be in sight.
It is also not clear what percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to achieve a comfortable level of immunity, Dr. Fauci said. Unvaccinated people cannot “keep lingering,” however, because as long as the virus circulates, more dangerous and potentially vaccine-defeating strains can continue to emerge, he said.
“I respect people's freedom, but when you're talking about a public health crisis that we've been going through now for well over a year and a half, the time has come,” he said. “Enough is enough. We've just got to get people vaccinated.”
“This is a very wily virus,” Dr. Fauci said. “We thought we were going to have that degree of freedom as we got into the Fourth of July and the summer, and then along comes a sucker punch with the delta variant, which is extraordinary in its capability of spreading from person to person.”
Dr. Fauci stressed, “It's within our power to get this under control.”
National Institutes of Health director Dr. Francis Collins echoed to The Washington Post that the current situation is bleak.
“Delta came along,” Dr. Collins said, “and it’s almost like we have a new pandemic now. Everything we thought we knew about COVID-19 has to be revised. I think we’re in a world of trouble for at least the next couple of months, but exactly what the shape of that trouble looks like, I can’t tell you.”
New infections have risen 29% in the past two weeks and hospitalizations have jumped 30% over that same period. Altogether, the US has recorded more than 37 million positive cases and 629,000 virus-related deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Still, public health experts hope the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval on Monday of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — now marketed as Comirnaty — will sway vaccine hesitant Americans.
Full approval of Moderna’s and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine could come in the next few weeks, while a vaccine for younger children could be rolled out as soon as this fall, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has ramped up its call for vaccine mandates as part of an effort to drive up vaccination rates.
During a press briefing Tuesday, White House COVID-19 coordinator Jeffrey Zients said, “If you’re a business, a non-profit, a state or local leader who’s been waiting for full and final FDA approval before you put vaccination requirements in place, now is the time. You have the power to protect your communities and help end the pandemic through vaccination requirements.”
Source: Equities News