Fauci: Americans Should Be 'Prepared for Possibility' of COVID-19 Restrictions

Fauci: Americans Should Be 'Prepared for Possibility' of COVID-19 Restrictions
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, responds to questions during a congressional hearing in Washington in a file image. (Greg Nash/Pool via Reuters)
Jack Phillips

White House COVID-19 adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned about the potential for the reinstatement of COVID-19 restrictions in the United States.

Americans, he told the BBC on Sunday, "need to be prepared for the possibility" of an uptick in COVID-19 cases, which may lead to further restrictions.

"I don't want to use the word ‘lockdowns.’ That has a charged element to it. But, I believe that we must keep our eye on the pattern of what we're seeing with infections," he told the outlet.

Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths from the virus have dropped significantly in the United States since the winter's COVID-19 surge.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that currently, the BA.2 Omicron subvariant that is spreading makes up for about 54.9 percent of cases. Meanwhile, data from the CDC revealed that just over 9,600 new cases were reported Sunday.

"Having said that, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we would have another variant that would come along," Fauci said. "And then, if things change and we do get a variant that does give us an uptick in cases and hospitalization, we should be prepared and flexible enough to pivot toward going back–at least temporarily–to a more rigid type of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoor."

But several days ago, Fauci told another news outlet that he does not expect another significant COVID-19 surge.

"I would not be surprised at all, if we do see somewhat of an uptick," Fauci told the Washington Post. "I don't really see, unless something changes dramatically, that there would be a major surge."

In recent months, a number of Democrat-led states and cities have moved to rescind COVID-19-related rules, including vaccine passports and masking. However, masking is still mandatory inside airports and on airplanes.

Several airline CEOs recently called on President Joe Biden to drop the mask mandate for airports and planes, according to an open letter that was issued earlier in March. Nine flight attendants also recently filed a lawsuit against the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services in a bid to block the mask mandate.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Tuesday moved to issue an emergency use authorization for a second booster of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines for individuals aged 50 and older. The CDC said it agreed with the FDA's decision.

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