The Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, Dr Anthony Fauci, said on Tuesday, 11 January, that while the country was witnessing a massive spike in cases and record COVID hospitalisation numbers, it was also close to the "threshold" of transitioning to a phase in which people would be able to live with COVID as a manageable disease, AFP reported.
Dr Fauci added that this would be a phase in which "there will be enough protection in (the) community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high-risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person."
The immunologist was speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and said that "Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody," and that "there's no way we're going to eradicate this."
He cited three main reasons for this argument – the transmissibility of the virus, its ability to generate mutations, and the swathes of unvaccinated people.
Despite Omicron being less severe in comparison to the Delta variant, thereby causing lesser deaths, hospitals in the US are overflowing with COVID patients.
Dr Lewnard had told the New York Times that said that this paradox was due to the high contagiousness of the WHO-designated "variant of concern."
Dr Fauci himself had warned about this late December, saying that the "sheer volume of the number of [COVID-19] cases...likely will go much higher."
"If you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity, that might kind of neutralise the positive effect of having less severity," he had added.
More than 730,000 people are testing positive daily in the US, which is close to three times the previous peak that occurred last winter.
(With inputs from AFP and NYT.)