Video source: YouTube, Center for Strategic & International Studies
Even as nationwide vaccination efforts are underway, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci has warned COVID-19 cases in the US may plateau again at “an unacceptably high level” and give the virus more opportunity to mutate.
During an online event Tuesday hosted by the US Center for Strategic and International Studies, Fauci spoke on the challenges of containing more infectious variants that have emerged.
“Viruses don’t mutate unless they replicate,” Fauci said. “And the more spread that you have in the community, the greater chance you’re going to have of the initiation and propagation of variants. And, that’s what we’re seeing in the United States.”
Each day, the US is recording at least 58,100 new cases and at least 1,560 virus-related deaths, according to a seven-day average calculated by CNBC using Johns Hopkins University data.
In early January, the US peaked at nearly 250,000 cases per day following the holiday season. Coronavirus cases have surged before falling and then plateauing twice over the past year.
Health experts have expressed concern over another wave of infections in the US as more contagious strains of the virus continue to spread and some states lift COVID-19-related safety measures.
Fauci and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said easing restrictions too soon may reverse the downward trend in infections and delay the country’s recovery from the pandemic.
On Tuesday, he again reminded Americans to wear masks, practice social distancing and to get vaccinated.
Vaccination, Fauci said, “is really the solution to the extraordinary stress that people are under right now.”
“The best thing that we can do really is to get as much control over the existing replication and dynamics of the virus,” he said.
Fauci also outlined two ways vaccines could combat the variants: vaccinated people could get specific booster shots against each new strain that pops up or a shot that provides protection against several strains.
“Here is the challenge – are we going to chase each variant in an almost ‘whack-a-mole’ way or are we going to try and get a vaccine that has a good degree of protection against several variants and get the level of the virus so low that we don’t really have an outbreak proportion,” said Fauci, who said vaccine-makers Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna are currently working on booster shots.
Since the start of the pandemic, there have been more than 29 million COVID-19 cases and more than 525,000 virus-related deaths in the US.
More than 31.4 million Americans have now been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
Source: Equities News