One in five Americans infected with Covid as Dr Fauci warns Omicron may not be end of pandemic (Pictures: Getty / Rex)
Nearly three years into the pandemic it’s still too soon to tell whether the more manageable endemic stage of the coronavirus pandemic is approaching, Dr Anthony Fauci said Monday.
‘When you talk about whether or not Omicron — because it’s as highly transmissible but apparently not as pathogenic, for example, as Delta — I would hope that that’s the case,’ the president’s chief medical advisor said.
‘But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes that immune response of the prior variant.’
A disease that is endemic has a constant presence in a population, but does not affect a large number of people or disrupt society, as has happened during the pandemic.
Since Omicron is highly transmissible but less likely to cause as severe disease as some of the previous variants of coronavirus, it could lead to an endemic phase of the disease.
While it’s possible the coronavirus may soon become more manageable, according to Fauci, it’s unlikely it will be wiped out of existence.
‘If you look at the history of infectious diseases, we’ve only eradicated one,’ he said. ‘And that’s smallpox. That’s not going to happen with” the coronavirus.’
About 20%, or one out of every five Americans, have now been infected with the coronavirus over the course of the pandemic, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
At least 66,356,336 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in the US since the start of the pandemic, according to the data. Over 800,000 people in the country have died.
The US is currently averaging 777,453 new cases and 1,797 new deaths per day, according to the data.
Hospitals and healthcare systems — some facing staffing shortages — have treated more Covid-19 patients over the past few weeks than ever before, and at least 156,676 people in the US were hospitalized Monday with the virus, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
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