The subvariant, known as BA.2, has been blamed by some officials for an uptick in cases across Europe and the United Kingdom in recent days.
“Hopefully, we won’t see a surge. I don’t think we will. The easiest way to prevent that is to continue to get people vaccinated. And for those who have been vaccinated, to continue to get them boosted, so that’s really where we stand right now,” Fauci told ABC News in a televised interview, adding the United States will see an “uptick” in COVID-19 cases.
When asked about whether the United States should relax its COVID-19 measures, Fauci said he doesn’t believe so. However, he suggested that officials may have to implement COVID-19 rules and restrictions in the future.
“I don’t think so … not right now. I don’t see us going back into any more really very restrict[ive] kinds of restrictions. But you always have to have the flexibility,” said Fauci, who has headed the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.
“So the bottom line is we likely will see an uptick in cases as we’ve seen in the European countries, particularly the UK, where … they have BA.2,” he added. “They have a relaxation of some restrictions such as indoor masking and there’s a waning of immunity.
Fauci’s remarks on Sunday come as he told a podcast last week that he’s considering leaving his position in the federal government.
“I certainly am because I’ve got to do it sometime,” Fauci, 81, said in an interview released March 18. “I can’t stay at this job forever, unless my staff is going to find me slumped over my desk one day. I’d rather not do that,” he added.
Fauci was appointed to the head of the federal health agency during the Reagan administration and he notably oversaw the United States’ response to the spread of AIDS/HIV in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Some Republican lawmakers, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), have said they would investigate Fauci if Republicans take control of the Senate or House during the upcoming 2022 midterms.
Earlier this month, in response to the potential GOP-led investigations, Fauci suggested he’s anticipating it but issued a dismissive remark.
“It’s Benghazi hearings all over again,” Fauci told the Washington Post on March 15 in reference to Republican promises to investigate or produce documents involving his agency’s alleged funding of gain-of-function research at the Wuhan Institute of Virology before the pandemic.
“They’ll try to beat me up in public, and there’ll be nothing there,” Fauci also told the Post. “But it will distract me from doing my job, the way it’s doing right now.”
The CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes COVID-19, reportedly emerged in Wuhan in late 2019.