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Fauci Warns of 4th Spike in COVID-19 Infections With New Variants Resistant to Vaccines

© AFP 2022 / SAUL LOEBWhite House Chief Medical Adviser on Covid-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as US President Joe Biden (out of frame) speaks about the 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine shot administered in the US during an event commemorating the milestone in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 25, 2021.
White House Chief Medical Adviser on Covid-19 Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as US President Joe Biden (out of frame) speaks about the 50 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine shot administered in the US during an event commemorating the milestone in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, February 25, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920, 05.03.2021
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WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - A pause in the recent decline in new coronavirus cases following the worse spike of the year-old pandemic leaves the United States in danger of yet another surge, possibly with deadlier mutations , National Institute of Allergy and Infections Diseases Director Anthony Fauci said Friday.

"We are starting to plateau [at] about 60,000 to 70,000 cases a day. When you have that much viral plateau it almost invariably means that you are at risk for another spike," Fauci said at the daily White House COVID-19 Task Force briefing.

Fauci said three previous peaks in the pandemic ended with new coronavirus cases plateauing at unacceptably higher rates - 20,000 in the spring, 40,000 in the summer, and 60,000 to 70,000 today - a trend he blamed on premature easing of restrictions.

The latest baseline "favors the mutation and the evolution of variants," as the virus undergoes a "selection process" to protect itself from antibodies produced by vaccines and earlier infections, he said.

The drop in new cases from about 250,000 in early January to the present level has prompted more than half of US states to ease, and in some cases completely end, existing restrictions, according to media reports.

Vaccines have been shown to be less effective against variants that have emerged thus far - from Brazil and South Africa - with vaccine manufacturers scrambling to create variant-specific booster shots or new vaccines, according to Fauci.

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