Fauci fears a fifth COVID-19 wave could hit the U.S.

Anthony Fauci
Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and Chief Medical Advisor to the President, listens as U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Omicron COVID-19 variant following a meeting of the COVID-19 response team at the White House on November 29, 2021 in Washington, DC. The World Health Organization designated it a variant of concern after South African officials discovered the variant last week. Photo credit Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that the U.S. could see another wave of coronavirus infections. In an interview Sunday he said that if Americans can get vaccinated, and those who already have get their booster shots, it could impact how bad the next wave is.

Fauci spoke with CBS News about the possibility of another wave in an interview on Sunday.

"We certainly have the potential to go into a fifth wave," Fauci said, CBS News reported. "And the fifth wave, or the magnitude of any increase, if you want to call it that it will turn into a wave, will really be dependent upon what we do in the next few weeks to a couple of months."

According to Fauci, there are 62 million Americans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine that have refused to get the shot. However, he said that millions more are immunized and within the time frame recommended for booster shots.

When it comes to getting ahead of another wave, Fauci said that the only real way to do so is by getting more people vaccinated and boosted.

"If we now do what I'm talking about in an intense way, we may be able to blunt that," Fauci said. "If we don't do it successfully, it is certainly conceivable and maybe likely that we will see another bit of a surge. How bad it gets is dependent upon us and how we mitigate."

The doctor's comments come as the World Health Organization named the new COVID-19 variant, the Omicron variant, and labeled it a variant of concern because of its mutations.

The variant was first discovered in South Africa, sparking shutdowns in several European countries and travel restrictions from southern Africa.

This comes as a cause for worry, as Fauci added in his remarks with CBS that vaccinated people see their immunity decrease over time. This has caused experts to say that herd immunity is further away than before.

"If you get someone who's vaccinated and he wanes down and gets below a certain level, I don't know whether you can count that as a full protected person, which is the reason why it's a combination not only of getting the total population vaccinated as a primary, but also getting people boosted," Fauci said.

Before announcing the Omicron variant, Fauci had discussed the path to turning the pandemic into an endemic, as he doesn't think COVID-19 will ever go away.

"I don't think we're going to eradicate it. We've only eradicated one infection of mankind, and that's smallpox," Fauci said.

He continued on saying, "when you have these moving parts, the best way you can get to where you want to go is to just say we're going to vaccinate as many people as we can, we're going to get as many people boosted as we can, and we're going to get that level down. And I think that's going to have to be as low as less than 10,000."

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