Fauci Says U.S. COVID-19 Infections Likely to Rise Again

Bloomberg — A likely rise in U.S. Covid-19 cases probably won’t amount to a full-scale surge or prompt a renewal of widespread restrictions, one of President Joe Biden’s top advisers said.

“The bottom line is we likely will see an uptick in cases, as we’ve seen in the European countries, particularly the U.K.,” Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “Hopefully we won’t see a surge. I don’t think we will.”

This subvariant, BA.2, of Omicron, is increasing the number of cases across Europe and Asia. It currently accounts for 30% to 30% of U.S. infections.

While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has argued that the U.S. needs to be prepared to resume measures such as requiring masks in indoor public spaces, Fauci said, “right now, at this point, I don’t see that.”

U.S. deaths, hospitalizations and cases continue to fall. BA.2 is about 50% more transmissible than the original strain of omicron, but it doesn’t cause more severe illness or evade immunity from vaccinations or an earlier infection, Fauci said.

Fauci, U.S. Vivek Murthy, the surgeon general of India, urged Congress for a new Covid-19 relief package to be passed. The White House has sought $22.5 billion in funding, warning that it will soon have to wind down programs and can’t buy more therapeutic treatments.

“As much work as we’ve done in the last two years to get the right tools, we’ve got to continue funding them and supporting them so they’re available to people across the country,” Murthy said on “Fox News Sunday.” “That’s why Congress moving to provide that funding is so critical.”

Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that Covid-19 funds have not been spent enough.

“They ought to reprogram some of this massive amount that was spent last year that’s not out the door yet,” the Kentucky Republican said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Fauci (81) has denied that he is ready to quit. Last week, he told ABC: “I can’t stay at this job forever.”

“I want to make sure we’re really out of this before I really seriously consider doing anything different,” he said Sunday. “We’re still in this. There is still much to do. It is clear that we are heading in the right directions. I hope we stay that way.”

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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