Dr. Fauci Says This Is the COVID Precaution He Still Takes
The pandemic is not over, and this is how the virus expert is staying safe.
COVID is clearly no longer at the forefront of most people's minds. Last month, President Joe Biden proclaimed that the pandemic was "over" in the U.S., and the latest data reflects a clear decline in the numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of counties in the country are experiencing only low virus transmission now. Even so, many experts continue warning Americans to not get too comfortable just yet. In fact, the nation's top COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, recently acknowledged that there is at least one major precaution he's taking against the virus. Read on to find out what he's doing to avoid getting sick.
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Most pandemic safety measures have ended in the U.S.
Since 2020, officials in the U.S. have enacted countless measures to try to protect against the spread of COVID. But most pandemic-era precautions have ended, including some over the past few weeks. Various vaccine mandates have been lifted for several groups recently, including school staff in California, Hawaiian Airlines employees, and students at Towson University in Maryland. At the same time, major cities like New York and Los Angeles have ended mask requirements for public transit.
Most recently, the CDC dropped a long-standing pandemic safety measure. On Oct. 3, the agency ended its country-specific COVID travel advisory program which informed Americans about the coronavirus risk level in each destination, The Washington Post reported.
But widespread precautions disappearing for the public doesn't mean that individuals can't still exercise caution.
Dr. Fauci is still adhering to certain preventative measures.
If you're not ready to fully embrace life as you had before the pandemic, don't feel as if you have to. After all, Fauci isn't letting all precautions go just yet. During a virtual conversation for the University of Southern California's (USC) Annenberg's Center for Health Journalism on Oct. 4, the nation's top virus expert said there is still one major COVID-based safety measure he's following.
"I don't go to indoor dinners where you sit down in an indoor setting for a significant period of time," Fauci said. At outdoor receptions, he's willing to ditch the mask. "But if I'm in an indoor setting for a considerable period of time, I would keep the mask on," he continued.
The virus expert says COVID has not ended.
The pandemic is not completely over, according to Fauci, who said there is "no doubt about that." While cases, hospitalizations, and deaths are "much, much lower" in the U.S. than they were several months ago, "it is still at a level that I have been very public about saying that I'm not comfortable with, having 300 to 400 deaths per day," the virus expert explained during the virtual conversation.
Currently, the BA.5 Omicron subvariant is still dominant throughout the country, but other Omicron sublineages are "creeping up," according to Fauci. "We don't have much of BA2.75.2 yet, but there are other countries that do have that," he said. "So although we can feel good that we're going in the right direction, we can't let our guard down."
New variants could also emerge.
Fauci also highlighted concern for COVID levels as winter approaches. During the colder months, "there's always the risk of an uptick in respiratory diseases," he said, noting that there's a chance that a new COVID variant could emerge during this time as well.
"I think it would be cavalier to all of the sudden say we're through with [COVID]," Fauci further explained. "Because remember, we were going in the right direction in the summer of 2021, and along came Delta. Then in the winter, along came Omicron. And since then, we've had sublineages of Omicron."
According to Fauci, a new version of the virus could even escape the immune protection Americans have built up from vaccinations or previous COVID cases. "I hope we don't get that," he said, "but we should not be surprised if we do."