With the U.S. averaging nearly 90,000 new COVID-19 infections each day and some 66 million Americans remaining unvaccinated, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said the country needs to gain control to approach normalcy.
“Much of the world, and in some respects including ourselves, are still in the pandemic phase,” Fauci told a virtual White House briefing Wednesday, later adding, “We’re looking for a level of control of the virus that would allow us to be able to essentially approach the kind of normal that we are all craving for and that we all talk about.”
While the U.S. is experiencing a decline across new infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Fauci said a threshold for adequate control would involve fewer than 10,000 daily new cases.
“It is going to be very difficult, at least in the foreseeable future and maybe ever, to truly eliminate this highly transmissible virus,” Fauci told the briefing, pointing to surges in case numbers during the spring, summer and fall of 2020, and most recently, late summer of 2021. He noted that while each time reported cases accelerated and later diminished, the country never gained proper control.
“We can get to control without a doubt, it is within our power and within our capability,” Fauci said, citing a fivefold reduction in risk of infection among fully vaccinated individuals compared to those yet to receive shots, as well as an over tenfold drop in hospitalization and death risk, respectively.