Dr. Anthony Fauci said the spread of Covid-19 and the U.S. rollout of vaccines are “going in the right direction.”
In an interview with JAMA, Fauci said Covid-19 cases have dropped to between 100,000 and 200,000 a day in the U.S. from between 300,000 and 400,000 a day just one month ago. He said he expects Covid-19 cases to continue to drop as long as vaccines continue to be distributed, administered quickly and Americans continue to practice public health measures like wearing masks.
“Things look like they are going in the right direction,” Fauci, who is an advisor to President Biden on Covid-19 and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, told Dr. Howard Bauchner, editor of JAMA, during an interview Wednesday afternoon.
Though between 1.3 million and 1.6 million Americans are being vaccinated daily against Covid-19 and about 30 million in the U.S. have received at least one dose, Fauci said there is still “much more demand than there is supply.”
But Fauci said Moderna and Pfizer are producing more dosages and Johnson & Johnson is nearing an emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a vaccine that requires only one shot. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots several weeks apart.
“What will happen to make the light at the end of the tunnel even brighter, is that as we get to the end of February into March and April there are going to be a lot more doses that are going to be available,” Fauci told Bauchner. “Things look like they are going in the right direction. We have less individual cases, or infections, per day.”
Still, there is the challenge of Coronavirus variants like the United Kingdom variant that is now in 40 U.S. states, Fauci said. The new variants, including one originating in South Africa, are more transmissible but Fauci said there is minimal impact on the effectiveness of vaccines from the U.K. variant.
A South African variant is a bit “more problematic” because vaccine efficacy is diminished. But Fauci said vaccines are still effective for those with “severe disease” against the South African variant, which means protection is still “pretty good” at reducing the risk of serious illness and hospitalization.
To blunt the impact of these new variants, Americans can do things to prepare and avoid them and their potential to spread, mutate and infect.
“You blunt that potential negative effect by vaccinating as many people as you possibly can as quickly as you can,” Fauci said. “Viruses that love to mutate don’t mutate unless they replicate. And if you can prevent them from replicating either by vaccination or by public health measures, then you will diminish the potential of their mutating.” – Forbes