Dr. Fauci Just Gave This "Sobering" New COVID Warning
The infectious disease expert is acknowledging the current state of the pandemic.
While many of us optimistically hoped that the coronavirus would be a distant memory at this point, that is hardly the reality. We entered 2022 in one of the worst surges throughout the entire pandemic, with the Omicron variant creating record high infection numbers across the U.S. And despite COVID numbers falling substantially throughout February and March, they are back on the rise again. In the last week, the U.S. has reported an average of almost 110,000 new infections every day, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Now, one of the nation's top COVID advisers is giving "sobering" news to Americans. Read on to find out the latest warning from top White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD.
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The U.S. has a new dominant coronavirus variant.
There has been several forms of the coronavirus over the last two years. Some of the most notable have been the Delta variant, which hit over summer 2021, and the Omicron variant, which surged this past winter. But neither of those versions of the virus are dominant in the U.S. anymore.
For the past month or so, BA.2, a subvariant of the original Omicron variant, has been causing a majority of new COVID infections in the country. But in the past week, a new Omicron subvariant has taken over: BA.2.12.1. According to the U.S. News & World Report, this subvariant is now responsible for 58 percent of new reported COVID cases—up from 49 percent last week.
Now, Fauci is giving a sobering COVID warning to Americans.
During a May 26 interview on The Takeout podcast hosted by on CBS News correspondent Major Garrett, Fauci discussed the current state of the pandemic in the U.S. amid rising coronavirus cases. When asked if the country was experiencing its fifth COVID wave, the infectious disease expert was reluctant to call it a "wave" specifically, but acknowledged the challenging situation.
"We are certainly having a number of cases that have increased," Fauci said. "The daily average is now over 100,000 a day. Should we be calling that a wave? I'm not so sure. I think it's a bit of semantics. I think we should say we are seeing an increase of infection. That's the sobering news."
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But infections are falling in some parts of the country.
It's not all bad news, however. According to Fauci, there are also promising signs right now in terms of COVID cases. "The somewhat encouraging news is that the parts of the country that had increases earlier are starting to plateau and come down," he said. "That's New York City particularly. That's the Chicago area. That's the Washington, D.C., area."
The latest data from the CDC indicates that the number of U.S. counties with high virus spread has dropped to just 250—which is a 16 percent decline from the week before, NBC New York reported. According to the news outlet, a significant decline has been seen in New York in particular, with the number of high transmission counties in the states dropping from 54 last week to 30 this week.
Fauci is recommending certain protective measures in places where cases are increasing.
Fauci and Garrett also discussed the host's current breakthrough COVID infection, which occurred after two vaccines and two booster shots. Garrett's most recent booster was given on May 9—just 13 days before he tested positive. According to Fauci, the issue now is that the BA 2.12.1 variant is more of an upper respiratory virus, while most of the protection afforded by vaccines and boosters is related to lower-respiratory illness.
"The one thing that has held strong is protection against systemic disease, particularly lung disease," Fauci explained. "However, the upper airway has become a vulnerable target."
To try to prevent COVID exposure overall and avoid a breakthrough infection, Fauci said he agrees with the current CDC guidance on wearing masks in places where "you are having an upsurge of cases." According to the CDC, the recommendation is to "wear a well-fitting mask indoors in public, regardless of vaccination status or individual risk" when in a community with high transmission.
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