Published Dec 19, 2021 in Businessinsider.com
By Taylor Ardrey
- Fauci said that he doesn’t “foresee” a lockdown amid concerns of the spread of the Omicron variant.
- But he warned that there will be an increase in hospitalizations and stress on healthcare workers.
- The Omicron variant has been detected in over 80 countries.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical adviser and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said that he doesn’t “foresee” a lockdown in the US amid the mass spread of the Omicron variant that’s “raging through the world.”
“I don’t see that in the future if we do the things that we’re talking about,” Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “The thing that continues to be very troublesome to me and my public health colleagues is the fact that we still have 50 million people in the country who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated.”
Fauci warned that a rise in cases will increase hospitalizations.
He continued: “When you have that degree of vulnerability and you have a virus like Omicron that spreads so rapidly it is quite likely that we are going to see in some sections of the country a significant stress on the hospital system as well as on the healthcare workers.”
During an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press, Fauci added that the fast-spreading variant is “raging through the world.” Per the World Health Organization, the variant has quickly spread to over 80 countries, CBS News reported.
The first case of Omicron was detected in the US on Dec. 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. As CNN reported on Sunday, the variant has been found in at least 45 states including California Louisiana, and New York. Officials in New York reported a record number of 21,027 positive COVID-19 cases on Friday ahead of the holiday season.
According to the CDC, while vaccines are “expected to protect against severe illness, hospitalizations, and deaths due to infection with the Omicron variant,” the Omicron variant spreads quickly. The agency expects that people infected with the variant “can spread the virus to others, even if they are fully vaccinated or don’t have symptoms.”
“With other variants, like Delta, vaccines have remained effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalizations, and death,” the agency said, noting that Delta remains the main variant circulating the US. “The recent emergence of Omicron further emphasizes the importance of vaccination and boosters.”
“GET BOOSTED NOW. Tidal wave of Omicron likely coming to a hospital near you soon,” Dr. Tom Frieden, former chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tweeted on Friday.
Last week, President Joe Biden emphasized that those who are unvaccinated are most at risk this winter.
“We are looking at a winter of severe illness and death for the unvaccinated — for themselves, their families and the hospitals they’ll soon overwhelm. But there’s good news: If you’re vaccinated and you have your booster shot, you’re protected from severe illness and death,” Biden said during a COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, according to CNN.
The president plans to address the country on Tuesday about how the administration plans to tackle the rise in COVID-19 cases and issue a “stark warning” to unvaccinated people.