Pandemic: US disease expert Fauci: Omicron variant will affect almost everyone
Washington Scientists are seeing initial indications that the wave of infections with the omicron variant of the coronavirus in the United States may soon have peaked. The number of cases could then drop dramatically.
The reason: Just one and a half months after it was discovered in South Africa, the variant turned out to be so highly contagious that hardly any people could be considered to be infected. “It will go back as fast as it shot up,” says Ali Mokdad, a professor of health metrics at the University of Washington in Seattle.
According to leading US expert Anthony Fauci, the extremely contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus will sooner or later affect almost everyone. “With the extraordinary and unprecedented effectiveness of the transmission, Omikron will ultimately find almost everyone,” said the immunologist and presidential advisor on Tuesday (local time).
Vaccinated people would also get infected, but most of them would not have it that hard, so they would not have to be hospitalized or would not die, Fauci said in an interview with the think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
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The worst will be those who are still not vaccinated, said Fauci. In the United States, only 208 million people, or just under 63 percent of the population, are fully vaccinated. Only 76 million people have received a booster vaccination so far.
“We have to make sure that the hospitals are still working”
Fauci’s testimony came just hours after a similar warning from acting chief of the US FDA, Janet Woodcock. “It is difficult to process what is actually happening at the moment, namely that most people will get Covid,” Woodcock told Omikron at a hearing in the US Senate. “We need to make sure that the hospitals are still working, that transportation and other essential services are not interrupted while this is happening.”
CDC director Rochelle Walensky said at the hearing that Omikron is “driving the case numbers to unprecedented heights here in the United States and around the world.” According to CDC data, there have been around 750,000 confirmed new infections per day in the USA over the past seven days.
More: Follow the latest developments in the news blog