Worst Yet to Come as COVID-19 Surges

Dec. 28, 2020 — Anthony Fauci, MD, says the coronavirus pandemic may get worse in coming months, including a post-holiday surge in cases.

In an interview on CNN, Fauci was asked if he thought “the worst was yet to come.” He said, “I do.”

“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Year’s — surge, and, as I have described it, as a surge upon a surge,” said Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci said holiday travel could cause a spike in cases. Besides exposing themselves at airports, travelers usually mix households when they arrive at their destinations, he said. Even though health authorities urge people not to travel, “it’s going to happen,” Fauci said.

“We are really at a very critical point. … So I share the concern of President-elect (Joe) Biden that as we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse,” Fauci said.

Biden recently said that the “darkest days” in the coronavirus pandemic are ahead and urged Americans to prepare themselves for a difficult struggle. Fauci has agreed to serve as Biden’s top health adviser.

December has already been the hardest month for the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

More than 65,000 people have died of coronavirus-related reasons so far this month, compared to only about 37,000 in November, according to the Covid Tracking Project. Hospitalizations are up, with more than 100,000 people in the hospital per day since Dec. 2.

Overall, there have been more than 19 million confirmed cases in the United States and more than 333,000 COVID-related deaths — the most of any nation in the world.

COVID-19 vaccinations should bring the pandemic under control, but it will take many months for the United States to develop herd immunity, Fauci said. Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are the top priority groups receiving the vaccine.

“I hope that by the time we get to the fall we will reach that critical percentage of people that we can really start thinking about a return to some form of normality,” Fauci said.

Fauci, who just turned 80, got a COVID-19 vaccination recently. He said he had no side effects besides arm soreness for about 24 hours.

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