Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said in an interview aired on Sunday that he believes people will have to begin “living with COVID,” expressing doubts that the virus will be eradicated.
Speaking to host Margaret Brennan on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Fauci touched on previous remarks in which he said he would like to see daily infections fall below 10,000 in order for the U.S. to be able to “live with COVID.” Brennan noted that current COVID-19 infection rates are now approaching 80,000 per day.
Fauci said this current infection level is “unacceptable.”
“I mean, we’ve heard people say, understandably, they’re trying to look for a metric to give to the public that we’re going to have to start living with COVID. I believe that’s the case because I don’t think we’re going to eradicate it. We’ve only eradicated one infection of mankind, and that’s smallpox. I don’t think we’re even going to eliminate it,” the infectious disease expert said.
Fauci said illnesses – such as malaria, polio and measles – have become nearly nonexistent through “a very, very, very intensive vaccine campaign.”
Brennan also asked Fauci if the U.S. was currently experiencing a fifth wave of COVID-19 cases.
“Well, we certainly have the potential to go into a fifth wave. And the fifth wave, or the magnitude of any increase, if you want to call it that it will turn into a wave, will really be dependent upon what we do in the next few weeks to a couple of months,” said Fauci.
He added that the millions of eligible U.S. residents who have not gotten vaccinated, compounded with those who are beginning to experience waning immunity from their initial doses, have resulted in a diminished level of community immunity.