“We should anticipate that we very well may get another variant that would emerge that would elude the immune response that we've gotten from infection and/or from vaccination,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who plans to step down in December after half a century in government, said during a seminar hosted by the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Health Journalism.
Although the country is moving “in the right direction … we are entering into the winter months, where no matter what the respiratory disease is, there's always a risk of an uptick,” he continued.
When asked if he thinks an end to the pandemic is in sight, Fauci replied: “I think it would be a bit cavalier to all of a sudden say we're completely through with it.”
As reported by The Hill, Fauci also admitted that he should have been “much more careful” in his messaging on Covid early on in the pandemic.
“When I go back in the early months, I probably should have tried to be much, much more careful in getting the message to repeat—the uncertainty of what we’re going through,” said the longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“You have to be very careful. It is really unfortunate, that that’s the world in which we live, in that it’s a bunch of sound bites, sound bites that sometimes get cut in half and get misinterpreted,” he added. “Someone could always make mischief by clipping out a few words.”
Meanwhile, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday urged Americans to get their flu shots, as the virus could make a major comeback this winter after a pandemic-driven two-year hiatus.
“With Covid, people have forgotten about influenza. This is another serious winter respiratory virus, it can do bad damage to you,” William Schaffner, medical director of NFID, said during the group’s conference, per CNBC. “The key to prevention is vaccination.”
According to a survey conducted by NFID, only about half of U.S. adults plan to get their flu shot this year. Moreover, roughly 20 percent of those who are at higher risk for influenza-related complications say they won’t get vaccinated.
“We know flu vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and your family from flu,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said at the conference.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.