Home / News / World /  New Omicron variant: Top US expert warns of spike in Covid cases
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US President Joe Biden's chief medical advisor Anthony Fauci has predicted a rebound in Covid-19 cases like that in Europe and UK because of BA.2 virus subvariant. However, the surge may not be detrimental, forecasting the lower rate of hospitalisation and death, Fauci said.

In an interview with ABC News, Fauci said, "The bottom line is we likely will see an uptick in cases, as we’ve seen in the European countries, particularly the UK".

BA.2, the subvariant of the Omicron virus, accounts for 30% of infections in the US. Whereas hospitalizations and deaths continue to decline. BA.2 is about 50% more transmissible than the original strain of omicron, but it doesn’t cause more severe illness or evade immunity from vaccinations or an earlier infection, Fauci said.

The US has recently relaxed Covid-related restrictions like mask mandates and requirements for proof of vaccination. Besides, people who were vaccinated six months ago and have not taken a booster shot, are facing continuously waning immunity. Fauci said it is unclear how long immunity from the prior infection will last.

“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," Fauci added.

He also said that there was no reason to impose public health restrictions relaxed under a federal approach meant to focus on areas with pressure on hospital systems.

“But you always have to have the flexibility," he said.

More than 970,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the US. Fauci said vaccination and booster rates still needed to be improved. Fauci, 81 and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, has served seven presidents since 1984. He has said he will consider retiring when the pandemic is done.

“I want to make sure we’re really out of this before I seriously consider doing anything different," he said Sunday. “We’re still in this. We have a way to go. I think we are clearly going in the right direction. I hope we stay that way."

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