As a resurgence in COVID cases in Western Europe prompts speculation about a similar rebound in the US, Dr. Anthony Fauci took to CNN yesterday to warn that Americans could still face another round of lockdowns if the latest COVID variant (or subvariant, in this case) causes infections - and, more importantly, hospitalizations and deaths - to rebound.
"We can't just say we're done, now we're going to move on. We've got to be able to be flexible because we're dealing with a dynamic situation."— CNN (@CNN) March 17, 2022
Dr. Anthony Fauci discusses with @jaketapper the BA.2 subvariant in Europe and what it means for the US. pic.twitter.com/VkoF2mJ6hh
The subject of the interview was BA.2, the newest subvariant of the omicron variant. Dr. Fauci said that a combination of waning immunity and easing restrictions could create the conditions fo a bump in new US cases.
"If in fact we do see a turnaround and a resurgence, we have to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the situation is," Fauci said.
"We can't just say, 'We're done. We're going to move on.' We've got to be able to be flexible because we're dealing with a dynamic situation.'"
Dr. Fauci added that the rate of mortality observed in the UK has been much lower than the original omicron variant. He noted that the US typically tails the UK by two or three weeks.
"The overall mortality is actually down," Fauci said. "It’s a very interesting situation where the cases are going up, but it does not, at this point in time, appear to be any degree of severity."
"We generally follow what goes on the UK by about two to three weeks," he added. "I would not be surprised in the next few weeks, given the fact that we’ve begun to open up, and we have an increase in the BA.2 variant, that we’ll be seeing an increase in cases."
The US recorded about 45,015 new cases over the past day, with about 1,943 new deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The US hit an all-time record of well over a million new infections every day.
Speaking Friday morning in an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box, Dr. Scott Gottlieb - who once appeared on the cable news network virtually every day during the depths o the pandemic - returned to offer some insights on the latest wave of infections caused by BA.2.
"I don't think this is going to be another major wave of infection, but we're probably going to go up from here before we see a decline," says @ScottGottliebMD. "It's true that Europe is seeing a wave of infection right now. We are about three weeks behind Europe." pic.twitter.com/E3HClw41I0— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC) March 18, 2022
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the rise of the new variant was just the "tip of the iceberg," warning that COVID cases will grow in the coming weeks.