Unable to stay out of the limelight, White House Chief Medical Advisor Anthony Fauci says that COVID-19 restrictions may be on their way back.
Speaking in an interview on BBC’s “Sunday Morning,” the top U.S. immunologist said that he was wary about using the word “lockdowns,” but warned that we may very well see the return of pandemic-era restrictions with the uptick of COVID-19 infections.
“I don’t want to use the word ‘lockdowns.’ That has a charged element to it. But, I believe that we must keep our eye on the pattern of what we’re seeing with infections,” he said.
“Having said that, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we would have another variant that would come along,” Fauci added. “And then, if things change and we do get a variant that does give us an uptick in cases and hospitalization, we should be prepared and flexible enough to pivot toward going back — at least temporarily — to a more rigid type of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoors.”
According to the latest data from the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, numbers for COVID-19 infections and deaths appear to be very much on the wane.
There have been 29,861 deaths over the last 28 days — a marked decrease in comparison to January, when there were more than 60,000 reported COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
Fauci warned that the United States is seeing the same conditions that are causing surging cases in Europe, which has been prompted with the introduction of the BA.2 subvariant of Omicron.
“It’s the greater transmissibility of the BA.2, it’s the relaxation of restriction, particularly in the context of indoor masking in congregate settings, and also the fact that immunity, due to both vaccination as well as people who have been previously infected, tends to wane with SARS-CoV-2 — particularly with Omicron,” he said.
BA.2 now accounts for a third of all COVID-19 infections, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.