The nation should focus less on the growing number of coronavirus infections and more on the number of hospitalizations and deaths, Dr Anthony Fauci said on ABC “This week with George Stephanopoulos” on Sunday.
A daily seven-day average of just under 387,000 cases nationwide has been reported, a 202% increase over the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database. However, hospitalizations only increased by 30%, to an average of 90,000 per day, while deaths fell 4% to an average of 1,240 per day.
Dr Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, noted that many new infections, especially in people who have been vaccinated and stimulated, do not cause any symptoms or mild symptoms, making the absolute number of less important case than it was for previous versions of the virus.
“As you go along and the infections get less severe, it’s much more relevant to focus on hospitalizations rather than the total number of cases,” Dr Fauci said.
This advice is consistent with what many epidemiologists have said from the start. Despite the daily rate of counting cases, the number of positive tests has never been a perfect indicator of the evolution of the epidemic.
The number of tests has exploded as the Omicron variant appears to be much more contagious than Delta or other earlier variants and more people are being tested for mild symptoms. Additionally, the official numbers are almost certainly underestimated, as many people test positive in rapid home tests or are carriers of the virus without any symptoms.
Yet, as Dr Fauci told Mr Stephanopoulos, the concern is not so much the mild or asymptomatic cases detected with widespread testing as it is the number of people with serious or fatal infections.
“The real outcome you want to be concerned about,” he said, “are we protected by vaccines against serious illnesses leading to hospitalization? “
So far, vaccines and boosters appear to offer this protection. But the unvaccinated remain in danger.
“I am still very concerned about the tens of millions of people who are not vaccinated at all because although many of them will become asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic, a good number of them will contract serious illness,” he said. said Dr. said Fauci.
Additionally, even though Omicron is milder, as most of the evidence suggests, a higher workload means more healthcare workers who cannot work because they are positive, as well as more likely to be. people get sick enough to require medical attention.
“We have to be careful with that, because even though you have a lower severity percentage, when you have several-multi-multi-times as many people infected, the net amount is that you’re still going to have a lot of people going to have need to be hospitalized, ”he said.
Dr Fauci also said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may reconsider their guidelines for people who test positive for the coronavirus. The guidelines at this time do not require a negative test before people venture out after five days of isolation. But Dr Fauci suggested the agency may soon revise those guidelines to include testing. “I think we’ll hear more about this in the next few days from the CDC,” he said.