After recovering from Covid 19, White House pandemic chief Dr Anthony Fauci has called for the reinstalment of lockdown-era restrictions including indoor mask mandates as he warns of a spike in cases due to “waning immunity”.
After taking two weeks off to recover from a mild strain of Covid, Fauci, 81, spoke to MSNBC via a video-link to warn the public about the BA.5 variant – a new variant of the Omicron strain.
The elderly scientist seems to have made a full recovery from the virus but urged Americans to get a booster shot, which he says probably will not curve the spread of Covid but instead will lessen the severity of symptoms.
Despite the successful vaccine rollout which has seen 67.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated, Fauci has suggested that we should revert back to wearing masks in indoor, public areas.
He tested positive for the virus on June 14, but his symptoms subsided after taking the antiviral pill Paxlovid, but 2 weeks later, he said mild symptoms had returned.
“Well, it’s something we absolutely need to take seriously. It has a transmission advantage over the prior variants that were dominant,” he told MSNBC.
Fauci went on to say that the BA.5 variant “has a transmission advantage which is one of the reasons why we’re seeing throughout several regions of the country, including, in particular, the New York area, you’re starting to see cases go up,” before insisting that the government is not yet mandating restrictions:
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“We’re not talking mandating anything, but we’re saying recommending people when in indoor congregate settings to wear a mask,” he said.
“Immunity wanes, whether that’s immunity following infection, or immunity following vaccine even though the immediate protection following infection or vaccine is generally good protection.”
According to the CDC, the BA.5 variant now represents 65 percent of Covid cases in America and the infection rate is rising in most states, although experts say the BA variants are not new and the spread is relatively slow:
“These subvariants have been with us for the past two months already,” said David Dowdy, an epidemiologist at the John Hoskins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“It’s a relatively slow increase that we’ve seen relative to the original omicron wave, which happened over the course of the month.”
The symptoms of the BA variants remain much the same as the original strains of the virus, including cough fatigue, headache and muscle pains, while loss of taste is less common. Experts say the illness is probably even less severe due to America’s ‘hybrid’ immunity from a combination of vaccines and previous infections.
Hospital cases and deaths relating to the virus remain steady and have seen little change since the Omicron wave last summer.
While Fauci and the WHO project their doom and gloom outlook onto Americans, Dowdy believes that we could be beginning to glimpse light at the end of the tunnel:
“Hopefully we will see that severity (of disease) continue to decrease and the rate of infections and number of cases will come down as well,” he said.
“We’re at the point in the U.S. where it is quite likely that the worst is over.”