Fauci: 500,000 coronavirus death milestone 'devastating'

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciPoll: Majority of Thanksgiving hosts not requiring COVID-19 vaccine, masks Overnight Health Care — Feds, military top 90 percent vaccine rate Fauci says changing definition of fully vaccinated to include boosters is 'on the table' MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Sunday that despite positive trends in coronavirus infections, it is "devastating" to see the U.S. approaching 500,000 deaths from COVID-19.

“If you look at what has gone on now, and we're still not out of it, a half a million deaths. It's terrible. It is historic. We haven't seen anything even close to this for well over a hundred years since the 1918 pandemic of influenza,” Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

"It's something that is stunning when you look at the numbers, almost unbelievable, but it's true," he added. "This is a devastating pandemic, and it's historic. People will be talking about this decades and decades and decades from now."

Fauci went on to address speculation that a single dose of the coronavirus vaccine could provide sufficient protection, saying it warranted further study but that it was too early to say.

“We don't know what the durability of a single dose is, and it really is risky, risky for lack of protection and risky to engender perhaps some variants. With regard to following infection, that's a different story because the data look really quite impressive that if you've been infected and then you get a single dose, the boost that you get with that single dose is really enormous. So we're looking very carefully about that,” he added.

“Those are two different scenarios. You don't want to confuse them,” Fauci said.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Fauci said that the continued downward trend in coronavirus cases is a positive development but emphasized the need for vigilance.

“The slope of downward trajectory is really very good and very impressive,” he said. “The one thing we don’t want to do is to be complacent that it’s coming down so sharply that now we’re out of the woods because we are still at a baseline of daily infection that’s quite troublesome.”