The COVID-19 pandemic may not yet have reared its ugliest head as the number of new infections continues to surge across the US, increasing the chances of a new variant forming even more contagious than the Delta strain, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci is cautioning.
In a new interview with Axios, Fauci said that the COVID-19 infection rate could be unsustainable and is 10 times where it needs to be in order for the pandemic to end.
“The endgame is to suppress the virus,” Fauci said. "Right now, we're still in pandemic mode, because we have 160,000 new infections a day. That's not even modestly good control ... which means it's a public health threat.
“The longer it takes to end this pandemic phase, the bigger the chance we'll end up with a 'monster variant’ that not only eludes vaccines but also is dangerously transmissible.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the seven-day average for new cases is now approaching 140,000 per day as the organization continues to monitor five variants of concern and eight variants of interest in the US.
“In a country of our size, you can't be hanging around and having 100,000 infections a day,” Fauci said. “You’ve got to get well below 10,000 before you start feeling comfortable.”
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Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease physician at the University of California San Francisco added that “the idea was to take away this ability of the virus to cause severe disease.
“That's what the vaccines do. They're still doing it, even for people who received them in January, even for people who were in the vaccine trials who received them last summer."
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