With the accelerated spread of the Omicron variant, many more people will find themselves at least exposed to the virus, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday.
“I think in many respects, Omicron with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” Fauci told J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in response to a question on whether the pandemic had entered “a new phase.”
“Those who have been vaccinated and vaccinated and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected, but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalization and death,” Fauci said.
“Unfortunately, those who are still unvaccinated are going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” he said.
Fauci said it’s still realistic to aim for a place where the virus is controlled, but the US is not there yet.
“Mainly, getting the level of infection that causes severe disease low enough that we can incorporate this infection – some people have said learning to live with it – that I believe we are possibly approaching that. Now the reason I say possibly is that we still now have close to a million infections a day. We have 150,000 people in the hospital and over 1,200 to 1,300 die,” he said.
“As Omicron goes up and comes down, I do hope that we will see a situation where there be enough protection in community, enough drugs available, so that when someone does get infected and is in a high risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person,” Fauci said.