Fauci says new aim is to get Covid under control by spring – but this depends on unvaccinated changing course

‘It’s within our power to get this under control,” Chief Medical Advisor to the president says

Gustaf Kilander
Washington, DC
Tuesday 24 August 2021 16:17 BST
Fauci says new aim is to get Covid under control by spring

Dr Anthony Fauci has said the new aim is to get the pandemic under control by the spring, but that it will depend on the unvaccinated changing course and getting the jab.

The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the president told CNN: “If we can get through this winter, and get really the majority, overwhelming majority of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated, vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022”.

Dr Fauci said getting the pandemic under control “means that you have either the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, those who have been infected ... and have cleared the virus will have a degree of protection”.

He added that the recommendation for those who have been infected and cleared of the disease is that “those people also get vaccinated because the degree of protection that you could induce in someone who has been infected, who has then recovered and then vaccinated, is an enormous increase in the degree of protection”.

Dr Fauci said that if the US can get the 90 million currently unvaccinated eligible individuals to get the shots necessary “I think we can get a degree of overall blanket protection of the community that as we get into the early part of 2022 ... we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely reassuming the things that we were hoping we could do. Restaurants, theatres, that kind of thing”.

But he said “getting through the winter ... could be complicated by influenza” or by a “respiratory syncytial virus”, which is a very common and contagious respiratory virus.

Dr Fauci also told CNN that there’s a “big caveat” as the pandemic is caused by a “very wily virus”.

“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 said.

He said the hope is to see the start of a return to normal by spring 2022, but “there’s no guarantee because it’s up to us. If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated, that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on leading to the development of another variant, which could complicate things. So, it’s within our power to get this under control”.

Dr Fausi said it remains unclear what percentage of the population needs to get vaccinated to reach a level of control, as Covid-19 is a new disease.

“We’ve been there with measles. We know with measles, you get 90-plus per cent of the population vaccinated, you have herd immunity,” he said.

“You get to a community like we saw a couple of years ago, with [the] Hasidic Jewish community in New York, they got down below into the 80s and lower and they had an outbreak. The number could be 90, it could be 85. We don’t know what it is. And what I say when people ask me and try to pin it down, ‘you know how you’re going to know, just get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can and when you get control, that’ll be the number’.”

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