Dr Anthony Fauci (pictured), warned Wednesday that it is too early to consider the COVID-19 pandemic controlled despite recent drops in cases
Dr Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, issued a warning Wednesday that it is too early to consider Covid ‘controlled’ in the U.S.
During a Covid briefing Wednesday, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease warned that the current Covid situation is not as optimistic as some officials and experts are saying.
Covid cases are starting to decline in the U.S. after skyrocketing at the end of 2021 and reaching a peak of 800,000 cases per day earlier this month – more than triple the previous case record set last winter.
The rapid spread of Omicron, combined with the relatively mild nature of the variant has many experts and officials hopeful that this strain will be what transitions the pandemic into an endemic.
Fauci has often given more pessimistic outlooks about the future of the pandemic than many other experts, though some of his more grim predictions have come to fruition.
He also mentioned that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for young children – which he believes could be available soon – will require three doses of the shot instead of the standard two dose regimen.
Fauci also reaffirmed his confidence the the Pfizer vaccine will be available to children under the age of five as early as next month. The vaccine regimen will feature three doses that are much smaller than the ones currently used for adults. Pictured: A young girl in Cranston, Rhode Island, receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on November 2021
‘Where we want to be is that sufficient control. Not eradication… that’s unreasonable. Not necessarily elimination… but a level of control that does not disrupt us in society,’ Fauci said.
‘That does not dominate our live and does not prevent us from doing things that we generally do under normal existence.’
He added that the U.S. is not yet there and it still recording high daily case and death figures.
According to most recent data from Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. is averaging 639,723 cases per day – a 13 percent decrease over the past week.
Deaths are on the way upwards, though, jumping 28 percent over the past week to 2,259 per day.
He does believe that it is possible to reach the point of control, though, and it would take the use of vaccines, masks, tests and antiviral therapeutics.
The eligibility of vaccines could soon be expanded as well. Fauci reiterated Wednesday that he thinks approval of the jab for children under the age of five will come as early as next month.
Pfizer, which manufactures the most popularly used jab in the U.S., plans to soon submit data to regulators for a three dose vaccine used in children under the age of five.
The shots would be significantly smaller. Adults and kids over 12 currently receive a 30 microgram dose of the vaccine, and children five to 12 receive a 10 microgram shot.
The jab for children younger than five will be three micrograms, a third of the size of the smallest available dose.
Antiviral Covid treatments, that help a person limit symptoms after infection – unlike the vaccines that have the main job of preventing infection – have managed to become a controversial topic in recent weeks.
Pfizer and Merck have both developed antiviral pills that are easy to administer, and considered to be effective at preventing the most severe of Covid symptoms.
The White House has made large purchase orders of both drugs to distribute to patients around the country, though Pfizer’s Paxlovid has been of short supply.
Jeff Zients, White House Covid response coordinator, assured the public that the drug will be available for use.
‘We’ve purchased 20 million treatment courses of the Pfizer pill and we accelerated delivery of the first 10 million from September to the end of June,’ he said.
‘We have hundreds of thousands of pills across the first quarter of 2022 per month, and that moves to millions in order to complete the first half of the 20 million by the end of June.’
Monoclonal antibody drugs, a favorite of some Republican figures like Florida Gov Ron DeSantis, have had their use paused in the U.S. for the time being.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made the controversial decision to pull its authorization for two drugs made by Regeneron and Eli Lilly after data from the National Institute of Health revealed neither had much effect against the strain.
Monoclonal antibody drugs are expensive and resources intensive to administer, and the move was made in an effort to prevent the wasting of valuable health care resources.
DeSantis, unhappy with the decision, said Tuesday that the Biden administration made the decision ‘without a shred of clinical data to support its decision.’