Dr. Fauci Says COVID Could Be Under Control By Spring If People Get Vaccinated

by Christina Marfice
J. Scott Applewhite/Getty

Dr. Anthony Fauci is putting the responsibility for ending this pandemic right where it belongs: With unvaccinated people

The delta variant is continuing its surge across the U.S., driving coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to their highest points since last winter’s devastating peak. But there’s a glimmer of hope now: The FDA just granted full approval to Pfizer’s vaccine. And in a new interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading expert in infectious disease, said we still have time to get the pandemic back under control, as long as more people get vaccinated.

“If we can get through this winter and get, really, the majority — the overwhelming majority — of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated vaccinated, I hope we can start to get some good control in the spring of 2022,” Fauci said during a Monday appearance with CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

Fauci went on to say that it’s important at this point to just vaccinate as many people as possible, even if they’ve already been infected with COVID-19.

“To me, that means that you have the overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated,” he said. “Those who have been infected and have cleared the virus will have a degree of protection, and we’re recommending that those people also get vaccinated, because the degree of protection that you can induce in someone who’s been infected who has then recovered and then vaccinated is an enormous increase in the degree of protection. If we can do that… I think we can get a degree of overall blanket protection of the community that as we get into the early part of 2022… ”

Fauci did recognize that the path to getting the pandemic under control may not be easy, even with 150 million Americans vaccinated. The winter may bring another surge, and new variants of the virus are keeping scientists and public health officials guessing.

“Getting through the winter could be complicated by influenza, but as we get into the spring, we can start getting back to a degree of normality,” Fauci explained. “Namely, reassuming the things that we were hoping we could do: restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing. But again, there’s a big caveat there. This is a very wily virus. We thought we were going to have that degree of freedom as we got into the summer, and then along comes a sucker punch with the delta variant, which is extraordinary in its capability of spreading from person to person.”

Fauci did end his interview on a note of hope — as long as Americans do their part and get the shot.

“We hope we’ll be there … but there’s no guarantee because it’s up to us,” he said. “If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant that could complicate things. It’s within our power to get this under control, and that is to get vaccinated.”