What Fauci is expecting with the BA.2 coronavirus subvariant in the US: NPR


Anthony Fauci predicts that eventually the US will get to the point where COVID-19 vaccines will be given annually like the flu vaccine does.

Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images


Hide caption

toggle caption

Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images


Anthony Fauci predicts that eventually the US will get to the point where COVID-19 vaccines will be given annually like the flu vaccine does.

Kevin Dietsch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The US could follow the trend of the UK and according to Dr. Anthony Fauci are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus.

President Biden’s chief medical adviser said that while cases are still declining in the United States, some states are seeing increases.

“I think without a doubt that we will see a turning point as people go indoors more outside and without masks,” he said. “That will certainly lead to infections, even in vaccinated people.”

New modeling from the Commonwealth Fund shows that the vaccination campaign in the US has saved more than 2 million lives and prevented 17 million hospitalizations.

Fauci said that a second booster shot might be needed for Americans by the fall and that eventually the shot could transition to an annual injection, like the flu vaccine.

Speak with Everything consideredFauci goes over what he sees coming for the US, the thinking behind boosters and advice on masking indoors.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

About what the BA.2 sub-variant will do in the US

I think we’re going to see a spike in cases that we’re already seeing in certain states. We’ve had a very sharp and steady decline in everything from cases to hospitalizations to deaths and in general we’re still seeing that across the country. But there are some areas, particularly in the Northeast, where we’re seeing a turnaround and an increase in cases.

If our pattern follows that of the UK, which we usually do, and is usually around three to four weeks behind them, they see a significant increase in case numbers. We hope that in this case the level of background immunity that we have in the country… [means] we will not see an increase in severity in the sense of an associated significant increase in hospital admissions.

About the need for a second refresher shot until the fall

It’s hard to predict. But given that immunity wears off over time, I would think we’ll need a boost until the fall.

I don’t see the need to refresh every four months. But what I would imagine could happen if all of this reverses we’ll get into a potentially annual, seasonal approach. We have something maybe similar to the flu.

I say this only as extrapolations. Nobody knows exactly what is needed. We just have to look at the data and make decisions.

About not masking at indoor events

The CDC was very clear when it changed its metrics to provide recommendations for indoor masking, saying you could do so with indoor events if infection levels in the community get low enough to cause it to spread to the so-called green zone.

But if it changes and cases go up, for one, I’ll go masking back inside if we go with a high rise in cases.

This interview was produced by Linah Mohammad and edited by Amy Isackson.

Leave a Comment