Fauci: US could control COVID-19 by next spring if ‘overwhelming majority’ is vaccinated
Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci said the U.S. could have a handle on the coronavirus by next spring if vaccination rates rise substantially.
“If we can get through this winter and get, really the majority — overwhelming majority — of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated, vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022,” Fauci told CNN’s Anderson Cooper on Monday.
“As we get into the spring, we could start getting back to a degree of normality, namely reassuming the things that we were hoping we could do — restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing,” he added.
Only 52 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, and case numbers have risen substantially as the nation grapples with the highly contagious delta variant.
Fauci had previously told NPR the U.S. wouldn’t have control of the virus until the fall of 2022 but now says he misspoke.
“If we do it right and get through the winter, I hope as we get to the spring of 2022, we’ll get there,” he said on the “Today” show Tuesday morning.
Low vaccination rates combined with the delta variant have caused multiple states to struggle with increased hospitalizations in July and August, with some locations running out of hospital beds and free ICU units.
Fauci said on CNN the U.S. needs more vaccinations, including among those who have previously been infected with the virus, in order to gain control of the pandemic.
He did not offer a specific percentage on what the vaccination rate needs to be.
“It’s up to us,” Fauci said. “If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant, which could complicate things.”