Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 infections: ‘Things will get worse as we get into January’

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Dr. Fauci on COVID-19 infections: ‘Things will get worse as we get into January’


Dr. Fauci told Americans to brace for more infections and deaths from COVID-19.

“We believe things will get worse as we get into January,” Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for the past three decades, told NPR in an interview. He called for an acceleration in public-health measures during this time.

The winter season and cold weather forcing people to socialize and work indoors, and travel and family gatherings associated with the holiday season, will likely amount to a “terrible” situation in January, the veteran immunologist said as the worldwide death toll exceeded 1.9 million.

“We want to get it to 1 million vaccinations per day,” he added. “The idea about having everyone for at least 100 days — at least — wear a mask. Everyone uniformly, so we don’t have disparities where some people are adhering to public-health measures, and others are not.”

“And then also a greater interaction, cooperation between the federal government and the states, instead of letting the states in some respects do things on their own to help them not only with plans, but with resources,” he added in the interview aired Thursday.

However, Fauci said that people have COVID-19 fatigue and national lockdown is not feasible. “I don’t think this is something that we’re ready for on a countrywide basis. But, you know, you have to keep your eye on everything that’s going on and always keep all options open.

“As the months go by, I would expect by the time we get to April, it will be what we call open season on vaccines,” he added. “Everyone will be able to get a vaccine. So I think by the end of the summer, if we get 70% to 85% of the population vaccinated and get a good herd immunity.”

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Fauci has previously warned that Americans are facing a “dark time” and the next potential surge over the holidays could lead to a dark January, “This may be even more compounded because it’s a longer holiday,” he told CNN last month. Infections have exceeded 88 million people worldwide.

The U.S. set a record for COVID-19-related hospitalizations this month with more than 132,370 patients, and the number of people with the virus in ICUs has surpassed 28,821. The U.S. had 21.5 million cases and 365,346 fatalities, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. lost at least 4,111 lives on Thursday from COVID, the most in a 24-hour period since the start of the pandemic, according to a New York Times tracker, and reported a record 280,028 new cases; they do not for the most part include those who are asymptomatic.

Pfizer
PFE,
+0.52%

and German partner BioNTech SE
BNTX,
+2.78%

previously said that a final analysis of their vaccine candidate showed 95% rather than 90% efficacy. Meanwhile, Moderna
MRNA,
-1.01%

 said its vaccine candidate was 94.5% effective.  

On Friday, BioNTech and Pfizer said an in vitro study found that their COVID-19 vaccine neutralizes the two new highly infectious variants that have emerged in the U.K. and South Africa. The results were published on the preprint service bioRxiv and have not yet been peer-reviewed.

A vaccine candidate from AstraZeneca
AZN,
-1.41%

 and the University of Oxford is safe and effective and showed an average efficacy of 70% in a pooled analysis of interim data, according to a recently published peer-reviewed study.



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