Fauci warns of increase in Covid infections after Christmas

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks to Alex Azar, secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), not pictured, before joining the Moderna Inc. Covid-19 vaccine received at an event at the NIH Clinical Center Masur Auditorium in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. The National Institutes of Health is holding a live vaccination event to highlight the organization’s efforts for its kicking off the forefront of the pandemic. Photographer: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Dr. Anthony Fauci warned on Sunday that an increasing number of coronavirus infections could get another boost if Americans gather for Christmas and New Year celebrations despite warnings from public health officials.

“We can quite possibly see a boom after the season – in the sense of Christmas, New Year – and as I described it, as a boom after a boom,” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union .

Fauci, a White House adviser and one of the country’s leading specialists in infectious diseases, expressed optimism about the pace of vaccine distribution, which began this month after federal regulators approved two drugs manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. has.

But he said he agreed with the assessment made by President Joe Biden, who warned on Tuesday that “our darkest days in this fight against Covid lie ahead of us, not behind us.”

“I share the concern of President-elect Biden that it may get worse in the next few weeks,” Fauci said.

The United States recorded an average of 189,578 daily new Covid-19 cases and 2,250 deaths in the past week, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. It is possible that these figures are an understatement due to a weakening in reporting during the holidays.

“If you’re dealing with a baseline of 200,000 cases a day and 2,000 deaths a day with hospitalizations of more than 120,000, we’re really at a very critical point,” Fauci said.

Fauci said that ‘travel and the possible gathering of people for the good warm purpose of being together for the holidays’ adds pressure to the worse crisis.

He also addressed a coronavirus mutation identified in the UK, saying: “We are now looking into it intensively.” Doctors in the country said the mutation appears to be spreading faster, prompting a number of countries to suspend travel from the bloc. The US will require those flying out of the country to test negative for Covid-19 from Monday.

Initial indications suggest that the mutation will not affect the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine and that it is not a “more serious virus in terms of virulence,” Fauci added.

Subscribe to CNBC Pro for the TV live stream, deep insights and analyzes on how you can invest during the next presidential term.