October 5, 2022 – Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, said this week that he is not ready to say we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a country we seem to be on the right track, Fauci said during the meeting virtual conversation for the University of Southern California Annenberg Center for Medical Journalism.
This is just 2 weeks away – said Biden that “the pandemic is over” on CBS 60 minutes. Last month, the World Health Organization also said There is no end in sight to COVID.
“It’s obvious [the president’s statement] can be problematic because people will interpret it as ‘it’s over and we’re done for good,’ which it certainly isn’t,” Fauci said.
Instead, he interpreted the comment as a reference to the improvement in the number of cases and deaths in the country over the past few months – that the worst is probably behind us.
Fauci, who has been heavily criticized for his public messages, chooses his words carefully, even as he promises a bright future ahead.
“I think it would be a good idea to say that we are done [COVID],” he said. “Because remember, in the summer of 2021, we were going in the right direction, and Delta came along with us. Then Omicron came in the winter. And since then, we’ve had Omicron sublines.”
Especially as the winter months approach, Fauci said, precautions still need to be taken to reduce the chance of another outbreak. When asked about the precautions he’s taking, Fauci explained that he still doesn’t go to indoor sit-down dinners. He continues to attend appointments — noting that most of them are held outdoors — without a mask, but if he is indoors “for a significant period of time,” he wears a mask.
Much of the conversation also reflected on the lessons to be learned from the mixed messages from public health experts, including Fauci, during the COVID pandemic and recent events surrounding monkeypox.
“I’ve always tried to tell the hard truth, but very often the hard truth is not heard in the circumstances in which it’s given,” Fauci said. He blames social media for distorting public comment and spreading misinformation for the general lack of clarity that many attribute to his statements and those of the CDC regarding COVID.
Fauci said if he could go back and do some things differently, he would. If he had a choice, he would have tried to be much more cautious in the early months of the pandemic, emphasizing the uncertainty of the situation we are going through.
A major handicap the U.S. continues to face with the pandemic is resistance to vaccination and, ultimately, immunization against COVID, Fauci added. And when it comes to vaccines, he doesn’t find the message polarizing.
“People say [I’m a] a polarizing figure,” Fauci said. “Well, if I say we should vaccinate because it saves lives, and someone says no, am I a polarizing figure? Or is a person saying something that’s completely untrue creating polarization? »