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Omicron will infect everybody, says top US expert Fauci as Covid cases soar

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, right, is seen before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants. (AP)Premium
Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, right, is seen before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants. (AP)

  • Given Covid's contagiousness, Anthony Fauci said, its propensity to mutate into new variants and the large pool of unvaccinated people

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Eliminating Covid-19 was unrealistic, top US infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said, adding that "Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody."

Fauci said there is no way to eradicate this virus. Given its contagiousness, he said, its propensity to mutate into new variants and the large pool of unvaccinated people.

Those up to date with their Covid-19 vaccines remain well protected against severe outcomes, he said. However, Fauci also said that vaccine efficacy against infection has fallen.

But "as Omicron goes up and down," the country will hopefully enter a new phase "where there'll be enough protection in (the) community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person," said Fauci.

"When we get there, there's that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now," he said, while also stressing that with the country currently recording almost a million infections a day, nearly 150,000 people in hospital and more than 1,200 daily deaths, "we're not at that point."

Fauci had earlier warned against complacency about the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, saying the sheer number of cases could strain hospitals despite signs of lower severity.

"(Omicron) could still stress our hospital system because a certain proportion of a large volume of cases, no matter what, are going to be severe," Fauci told reporters at a White House briefing.

Official data showed there are 145,982 Covid-19 hospitalisations at present, even though a significant percent are thought to be hospitalized "with" the disease rather than because of it.

Omicron is causing havoc in many nations and countries are resorting to stricter Covid-19 protocols. The new strain's rapid spread has forced many companies and school officials to reconsider plans for returning to work and classes.

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