Fauci Warns of More COVID Lockdowns in US Amid Surge in Omicron Sub-Variant Cases

© REUTERS / J. Scott ApplewhiteTop infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 20, 2021
Top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci responds to accusations by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as he testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Capitol hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., July 20, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.03.2022
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Dr Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in the US, has warned that Americans could face more coronavirus lockdowns amid the spread of the new Omicron sub-variant, known as BA.2.
Speaking with CNN, Fauci, who also serves as a chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, noted that in the event of "a turnaround and a resurgence" of COVID, the US has "to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the [coronavirus-related] situation is".

"We can't just say, 'We're done. We're going to move on'. We've got to be able to be flexible because we're dealing with a dynamic situation", the NIAID head said, adding that overall mortality regarding COVID is "actually down".

Fauci pointed to "a very interesting situation where the cases are going up, but it does not, at this point in time, appear to be any degree of severity". He made it clear that he "would not be surprised in the next few weeks, given the fact that we've begun to open up, and we have an increase in the BA.2 variant, that we'll be seeing an increase in cases".
The claims come a few weeks after Fauci voiced hope in an interview with the Financial Times that the COVID-19-related restrictions in the US may be scrapped in the not-so-distant future.

"I hope we are looking at a time when we have enough people vaccinated and enough people with protection from previous infection that the COVID restrictions will soon be a thing of the past", he said.

Fauci spoke as recent data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that the BA.2 sub-variant has been tripling in prevalence every two weeks in the country.
Although the original Omicron variant still makes up the majority of the nation's COVID infections, its prevalence has dropped over the past several weeks, from 74.5% to 66.1%, according to the CDC.

Fauci Rejects Claims He Deliberately Downplayed Virus Lab Leak Theory

As far as Fauci is concerned, he has repeatedly rejected claims that he "deliberately suppressed" the theory that COVID-19 originated in a lab in China's Wuhan Institute of Virology. Earlier this year, two Republican congressmen claimed in a letter to US Secretary for Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra that the White House's chief medical adviser "may have concealed information about the COVID-19 originating from the Wuhan lab and intentionally downplayed the lab leak theory".
After wrapping up a fact-finding mission to Wuhan in 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that a lab leak was "extremely unlikely", with WHO experts suggesting that the virus was transmitted to humans from animals that may have consumed bats. China itself has repeatedly denied the lab leak theories.
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