During an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly on 8 Nov., White House COVID adviser Anthony Fauci, MD, explained the present situation of the Covid in the country and what the pandemic may resemble as the U.S. heads into this winter of the year.
According to Fauci, “things are going in the right direction with the diminution of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths,” but it’s not all good news.
Fauci explained, “The steepness of the deflection is not as good as it was, let’s say, a month or so ago … it’s down to a lower number.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from 5 Nov., the new cases related to coronavirus are only dropped by 1% for the week, despite in previous weeks it was decreasing by more than 7%.
Thatswhy both Fauci and other health officials are worrying about the upcoming winter that this weather will result in the rise in the Covid cases. According to all these experts, these winter holidays and cold weather will possibly come with more travel and indoor meetings, parties, and gatherings. Which can cause more spread of the virus. But also there is a way to avoid this passage, even as winter achievements.
Fauci told NPR, “As we go into the winter months with the challenge of a respiratory infection being worse in the winter months, we can get through this if we really put a lot of effort into getting as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” But the virus expert warned that the U.S. still “need[s] to do better” in terms of adolescent vaccination rates.
According to the CDC, “only 58.4 percent of U.S. adults and adolescents are fully vaccinated, which leaves more than 60 million still unvaccinated despite being eligible.”
Despite all these, there is still good news. According to Fauci, recent authorization for children to get vaccinated is “something that’s in our favor.”
On Nov. 2, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, officially approved on children ages 5 to 11 are getting Pfizer’s pediatric vaccine. Fauci asked parents to take their children for vaccinations, remarking that data shows “really good efficacy and really good safety profile.”
Fauci said, “I would tell the parents: Although it is less likely for a child to get a serious result from infection than in adults, particularly an elderly adult, it is not something that’s trivial with children, And with around 28 children now eligible to receive the vaccine.”
Erin Carlson, DrPH, director of graduate public health programs at the University of Texas at Arlington, told KERA News that, “vaccinating children will also play a significant role in curbing transmission.”
Fauci said that “the development of anti-COVID pills may also help the pandemic into the winter. Two companies, Merck and Pfizer, have made recent advancements with their antiviral pill developments. In early October, Merck submitted an application to the FDA for its pill, but it is still awaiting federal authorization. Pfizer is set to submit its own application soon, according to the manufacturer, after releasing data showing that its pill reduces the risk of hospitalization and death among high-risk adults with COVID by 89 percent within three days of symptom onset.”
“The results were really quite striking,” Fauci told NPR, referencing Pfizer’s data. But he said pills still aren’t a substitute for vaccines. “The best way traditionally—not only with COVID-19 but with any infection—it is always, always better to prevent it than to have to worry about treating it.”
Even increased vaccinations won’t necessarily get rid of the virus in the U.S. altogether either. But that’s not the goal anymore, according to Fauci.
“We’re looking for a level of control … where the level of infection—due to vaccination predominantly, but also people who may have been infected and have some degree of protection—that doesn’t disrupt society the way the COVID-19 outbreak is currently doing with us,” Fauci said.