Americans must conduct their own medical risk assessments as Covid-19 cases increase in the United States, according to President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, owing to a less virulent virus and public exhaustion with restrictions.
“This is not going to be eradicated and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Anthony Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “And what’s going to happen is that we’re going to see that each individual is going to have to make their calculation of the amount of risk that they want to take.”
Fauci’s remarks contrast with the more dire warnings he issued earlier in the pandemic in 2020. The shift in tone by President Joe Biden’s administration is both political and medical: Americans have grown tired of restrictions, which have almost all been lifted, while vaccines, immunity, and treatments are helping in keeping cases from becoming more severe.
Fauci stated that White House protocols “are sufficient to protect” the president after several cabinet members and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tested positive for Covid. In the two days before she tested positive last week, Biden spent an hour with Pelosi, including an embrace and a kiss on the cheek.
“The protocols to protect the president are pretty strong,” Fauci said, adding that Biden has had four Covid-19 shots and people who come in contact with him must be tested.
Because of the BA.2 omicron subvariant, the average number of reported infections in the United States reached nearly 100,000 on Friday, the highest level in a month. According to health experts, many cases are being missed as a result of more widespread home testing.
Infections are still a fraction of what they were during the peak of the omicron variant wave in January when daily cases peaked at 1.3 million. Deaths and hospitalizations are still on the decline.
The United States’ rejection of most restrictions contrasts with China, which has fewer daily cases but has imprisoned the entire city of Shanghai and its 25 million residents in accordance with the country’s Covid-zero policy. According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg, cases are also on the rise in Europe.
Some people may want to take extra precautions, Fauci said.
“What is my age?” he said. “Do I have people at home who are vulnerable that, if I bring the virus home, there may be a problem?”