As the Omicron variant spreads like wildfire across the United States, it’s likely just about everybody will be exposed to the strain, but vaccinated people will still fare better, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert said Tuesday.
“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Dr. Anthony Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death.”
In contrast, those who are not vaccinated are “going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” he added.
The top US scientist told the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) that eliminating Covid would be unrealistic and that “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”
“There’s no way we’re going to eradicate this” virus, he said, due to its contagiousness, its tendency to mutate into new variants, and a large number of unvaccinated individuals.
While vaccination is still effective against severe outcomes, it is losing its effectiveness against the infection.
However “as Omicron goes up and down,” the country will hopefully enter a new phase “where there’ll be enough protection in (the) community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high-risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person,” said Fauci.
“When we get there, there’s that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now,” he said.
Official data showed there are currently 145,982 Covid hospitalizations, even though a significant percent are thought to be hospitalized “with” the disease rather than because of it.
Earlier, the 81-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases slammed vaccine skeptic Republican Senator Rand Paul for unleashing “crazies” who were threatening his life and harassing his family, in unusually emotional congressional testimony.
President Joe Biden’s top officials, including his chief medical advisor Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walenksy and acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Janet Woodcock were summoned to testify before the Senate about the pandemic.
While many fellow lawmakers focused their questions on the lack of adequate testing and confusing new guidelines on how infected people should end their isolation, Paul, who has railed against vaccine mandates and refused to get vaccinated, said Fauci was personally to blame for people’s deaths.
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