— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) May 4, 2022
Worth reading the whole thing — it’s not that long. Maybe not new information, if you’ve been keeping up, but IMO it’s useful to have it laid out so succinctly:
… Ravi Agrawal: You said last week that we are out of the “acute component” of the pandemic phase. In real terms, what does that mean for Americans?
Anthony Fauci: We are still in the middle of a pandemic, to be sure—there’s no confusion about that. But when I say we’re out of the acute fulminant stage right now, what I mean is that cases have gone down dramatically. Our numbers of deaths per day are down to one-tenth of what they were. We have many less hospitalizations, and the case numbers went way down from 900,000 to around 15,000 per day. Now, as we’ve seen before, we’re starting to see an uptick in cases, particularly with the new BA.2 variant. But what we are seeing is something that our colleagues in the United Kingdom and in some of the European countries have seen, where although the cases are starting to go up, they’re not going up in a very steep, fulminant way and they’re not associated with a concomitant increase in hospitalizations or the utilization of intensive care unit beds.
What that’s telling us is that 90-plus percent of our population has either been vaccinated and boosted or has gotten infected—or both. This is not protecting us specifically from infection, but it seems to be protecting us from that surge of hospitalizations that stressed the health care system during previous eras of this pandemic.
We hope that we don’t see a major uptick [in cases] as we get into the fall, but that remains to be seen. We’re going to have to wait and see, which is the reason why we’re still encouraging people to get vaccinated. If you’ve not been vaccinated or if you have been vaccinated and are eligible for a booster, make sure to get it. Now…
RA: I’m going to channel some of the questions we’ve received from our subscribers here. It’s fair to say the United States performed relatively poorly on the pandemic despite having one of the world’s most advanced health care systems. Knowing what you now know, what would you recommend America did differently?
AF: Well, what America could have done differently would have taken decades to fix. It isn’t a one thing for this pandemic that was specific. Our health care system has a great deal of disparities.
We have a very heterogeneous population, many of whom have a much greater risk of developing severe disease—mostly minority populations or brown and Black populations. Not only are they in occupational situations that put them at greater risk of getting exposed, but they have underlying conditions that are much more likely than you see in the general population: hypertension, diabetes, obesity, chronic lung disease. And that’s why they’ve suffered desperately greater than the general population.
Also, we have an uneven health care system. The access to good health care isn’t evenly distributed throughout the country, where it is in other nations that have more uniform health care systems. They’ve done much, much better than we have. Those are just a few of the reasons why, even though we’re a very rich country, even though we were deemed to be as well or better prepared than anyone else for a pandemic, we did quite poorly. We have almost a million deaths over a two-and-a-half-year period. That is very serious…
RA: So let me ask you a related question then. Turning to Ukraine, given the relatively low vaccination rates there, are you now worried about the conditions of war acting as an incubator for the next dangerous variant? And this holds true not only for Ukraine but also many other parts of the world, such as Yemen or Afghanistan.
AF: Well, you’re absolutely correct. And that gets back to the saying that we in public health have said for so long that a global pandemic can only be solved by a global response. You can’t have just some countries responding because then you give the virus the opportunity to proliferate, expand, and mutate and develop variants.
Whenever you have the disruption of anything from a natural disaster to a disruption of society by conflict, in this case the Russian invasion of Ukraine, that always leads to a disruption of health care systems, including how one can respond to a pandemic. But it goes well beyond Ukraine. You mentioned some of the other countries, even in sub-Saharan Africa, where you have, you know, less than 20 percent of some countries vaccinating their people, particularly when you have a high level of other diseases such as HIV/AIDS, in which the virus can have a particularly greater impact on people. That has secondary effects throughout the world because it gives the virus the opportunity to continue to spread from person to person. And the more the virus replicates, the greater the opportunity you give it to mutate. And when it mutates, that’s when you get new variants…
Hospitalizations have increased ~35% since their mid-April nadir, now pushing 18,000; today was the largest (757) increase since January; still a low absolute number but not a good trend; nothing like the BA.1 wave pic.twitter.com/cEBhOwGon9
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) May 5, 2022
The number of newly reported COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to drop globally in the last week, the World Health Organization said.
The decline began in March, though there have been big jumps in cases in certain regions.https://t.co/4tscWpYj7A
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 4, 2022
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 5, 2022
How Covid-scarred Shanghai will finally exit lockdown https://t.co/lhrkZ0gEQR
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 5, 2022
Hong Kong is reopening beaches and pools in a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, while China's capital Beijing is easing quarantine rules for arrivals from overseas. Hong Kong had closed water sports venues amid an outbreak of the omicron variant. https://t.co/Czfzxv3duZ
— The Associated Press (@AP) May 5, 2022
The Omicron COVID variant is as severe as previous variants, unlike assumptions made in previous studies that it was more transmissible but less severe, a large study in the United States has found https://t.co/BYOIMoETG7 pic.twitter.com/mQ8mqGuE5o
— Reuters (@Reuters) May 5, 2022
It's time for a consensus defintion of #LongCovid https://t.co/WOzdFODiok @LancetRespirMed @DrMunblit
"There is an urgent need for unification of terminology for the sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection." pic.twitter.com/vW8gDT9CV4
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) May 4, 2022
— delthia ricks ? (@DelthiaRicks) May 4, 2022
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) May 3, 2022