EXCLUSIVE: Dr. Fauci on COVID Pandemic — "It Will End"

The omicron variant surge of COVID-19 might appear to be cresting in some big cities, but the latest wave is far from over, especially in many rural communities, says Dr. Anthony Fauci. The chief medical adviser to President Biden says smaller towns should expect omicron outbreaks to increase in the coming weeks.  

"When you have an outbreak of a new variant, there's a delay," says Dr. Fauci regarding rural outbreak trends. "Rather than have the sharp peak and then come down, you sort of gradually go up and then come back down."

In a one-on-one interview with Farm Journal Editor and AgDay TV host, Clinton Griffiths, Dr. Fauci says as vaccination numbers and unvaccinated COVID survivors increase the pandemic will end. 

"It will end. I can guarantee you and your viewers it will end hopefully sooner rather than later," Dr. Fauci says. "We will reach a point where the virus will be low enough in the community as to not have any impact on what we do, so we can get ourselves back to some form of normality and it doesn't interrupt the economy or interrupt our way of life. That's what we're hoping we're going to see within a reasonable period of time." 

(Watch Full Interview Above)

The highly transmissible omicron variant has helped to push COVID-19 positive rates higher since late fall. The weekly rolling average of COVID-19 deaths is now at 1,700. That's about half what it was in January 2021. 

"If you look at the devastation in this country thus far, we've had 850,000 deaths and about 66 million cases," Dr. Fauci says. 

New models from the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, created by university and health experts, which now factor in the omicron variant, expect up to 2.38 million hospitalizations and 304,000 deaths, at worst, and 409,000 hospitalizations and 54,000 deaths, at best, from mid-December through mid-March. Those models show the omicron peak sometime between February and March. 

COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub Forecast
Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths will likely have receded substantially from the peak by the end of the projection period (March 12, 2022) -- COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub

"To be sure, there are breakthrough infections, namely, people get vaccinated and even boosted, and they may get infected," says Dr. Fauci. "For the most part, though, those infections are either without symptoms or minimally symptomatic."

Dr. Fauci says in many, but not all, rural areas, vaccination rates are lower compared with the rest of the country. While strongly advocating for vaccines and boosters to prevent hospitalization or severe illness, Dr. Fauci recognizes all immunity will ultimately work together against the coronavirus.

"I think when you get a situation of more and more people getting vaccinated and boosted or unfortunately, people getting sick or getting infected, then recovering and having a degree of protection, if you combine those two, there will be enough protection in the country," says Fauci in reference to an eventual end of the pandemic. 

The federal government is now offering free coronavirus test kits to some Americans. Those with a valid residential address can go to COVIDTests.gov to get one set of four free at-home COVID tests starting in late January. 


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