LOS ANGELES (KNX) — Love him or hate him, Dr. Anthony Fauci is the United States’ top infectious disease expert and the chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden. In an exclusive interview with KNX, Dr. Anthony Fauci shared what he has learned after two years of the coronavirus pandemic and inadvertently becoming part of tumultuous politics.
That’s one of the major lessons he said he realized, that we must learn for the next pandemic to keep political divisiveness out of health care decisions.
“One of the greatest impediments to a comprehensive response is when public health principles are severely influenced by ideology and political persuasion,” he said.
When asked whether or not “everyone” will face some sort of COVD-related sickness due to the Omicron variant — a major topic currently circulating across the United States — Fauci cleared up some confusion by breaking down what the acting director of the FDA actually meant.
“What she was referring to is that Omicron is such a highly transmissible virus that it will essentially be exposed to virtually everybody because of its ability to transmit from person-to-person,” Fauci said.
That means, Fauci continued, that everyone will likely be exposed to the variant and maybe even get infected, but being infected does not necessarily mean a symptomatic COVID experience where one gets sick. Especially, he said, if vaccination protocols are followed.
“We know very, very clearly from good data with [the Delta variant], and there’s no reason to believe it’s going to be any different with Omicron, that when you look at the people that…the likelihood of getting infected, of requiring hospitalization, or of dying, is much, much higher in an unvaccinated person that a vaccinated person,” Fauci said.
In discussing the confusion, Fauci reiterated that just because illness could be less severe does not mean that contracting the Omicron variant is “no big deal.”
“You don’t want people to feel that…‘everyone is going to be just fine’ with Omicron. That’s not the case,” he said. “You’re gonna see people that are hospitalized and there are going to be people who die…you still need to protect yourself because you don’t know.”
Will COVID protocols last forever?
With the potential for new variants, many wonder - is this the new normal? Will we be required to mask up in crowded places forever? The answer is no, according to Fauci.
"This is not gonna last forever," He said. "I think there will be circumstances during mini outbreaks, like maybe in the [flu] season, where people will elect to wear masks."
Fauci said for years, other countries have masked up during the winter season, when viruses become more transmissible — and maybe now Americans have realized it's time to do the same.