Fauci: “Covid is not over yet, watch out for the winter.  am i retired  No “

Fauci: “Covid is not over yet, watch out for the winter. am i retired No “

by Giuseppe Sarcina

The US immunologist: «The new smallpox remind us of AIDS. But we have more tools”

FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
WASHINGTON Covid-19 ‘mocking us for two and a half years’: It would be ‘wrong and premature to think the pandemic is over’ Anthony Fauci, 81, is still concerned. He knows “we’re all tired,” but we must “beware for the winter.” And in the meantime, beware of “monkey pox,” too. A scenario similar to that of AIDS cannot be ruled out, “even if we now have many more tools”.

Fauci is the director of Niaid, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in Washington and heads the White House health task force. By the way: “Joe Biden is doing well, he’s back on track”.

Is the pandemic over?

“No. There is a big difference between what people in the US and Europe perceive or want and the reality. In the US we are in the middle of a half wave of the Omicron Ba5 variant. And even though it seems that we Having reached the “plateau” we are registering more than 100,000 cases daily with about 3-400 deaths. This is an unacceptable level. My colleagues in Western Europe, Italy, UK tell me that the cases are stationary. In Eastern Europe, however, it is spreading Epidemic continues. After all, I think it’s wrong and premature to say the infection is over. Just look at the hospitalization numbers. It’s understandable that people are tired and want to return to some degree of normalcy. But we better be careful. This virus has been making fun of us for two and a half years. Every time we thought it was over, a new wave came. We are allowed to our waking don’t give up completely because we can’t predict what will happen next autumn and next winter».

The Omicron Ba.5 variant is dominant. Should I take the third or fourth dose now? And would that be an indication that applies to everyone or only to those over 50?

“That depends on how high the availability of vaccines against the Ba.5 variant is in the individual countries. In the US, we should have them by mid-September. Health authorities recommend that people in good health who have already received their third dose wait until the new products are ready. However, those who are weaker or have other illnesses would do well to get vaccinated immediately, particularly in Italy or the UK where the new vaccines are expected to arrive in October-November ».

How many and which companies are working on it?

“Moderna and Pfizer have informed us that they will most likely be able to distribute a significant quantity of the new vaccines by mid-September. So we already have two companies at work. I don’t know if other companies in Europe and UK are ready ».

Many vaccinated people have already contracted Covid. How long can they wait before taking the third or fourth dose?

“It’s an important question, but we don’t have a definitive answer. In any case, all the studies indicate that those who have had Covid or have been vaccinated can count on protection against the symptoms of the disease lasting a few months: three or four, maybe five. What seems to be lasting longer, however, is the protective shield against the more severe forms of the disease that lead to hospitalization. So in general we think those who have had Covid would do well to get re-vaccinated within six to seven months. To put it even more clearly: if you were last vaccinated or sick in 2021, then it’s time to take another dose ».

Governments in Europe and the USA have relaxed the restrictive measures. Did they do it right?

“America, as you know, is a very big country. The CDC, our federal health agency, has drawn a map of different colors, from green to red, based on hospitalizations and the capacity of health care facilities. Each color corresponds to a recommendation: there are no problems with green; on yellow it is better to wear the mask and so on until red alert. This flexibility criterion remains the most valid and is also used in Europe. However, I would like to add a point. In addition to the recommendations of the authorities, there are individual decisions. For example, if I live in a risk area but old people or sick people are waiting for me at home, then I would do well to wear a mask anyway.”

In addition to Covid-19, there is now another emergency: “Monkeypox”, monkeypox. How much do we have to worry?

“I’m very cautious because cases have doubled in seven to eight days. We currently have around 8,000 infected people in the United States; about 30,000 worldwide. There are many things we don’t know about the evolution of the virus over time. We know that the vast majority of cases, 98%, have occurred in men who have had sex with other men. But in both the United States and Europe, we are beginning to see the extent of infection in some children and some women as well. However, I think that there is no need to panic, but that we must follow developments with great concentration, because this virus is a moving target and it is evolving ».

Can you imagine a scenario similar to AIDS?

“That is a conceivable hypothesis. Mind you, I’m not saying we’re in that situation. But we have to be very careful because there are many elements of monkeypox that bring us back to what we saw in the early years of AIDS in the early 1980’s. However, there is one very, very important difference: back then, we didn’t know the origin of the virus; We were not able to identify it until 1983-84. We didn’t have any diagnostic tests. We haven’t had any therapy and we don’t have a vaccine yet. Now it’s completely different with “monkeypox”. We have known about this virus since 1970. We have good diagnostic tools. And most importantly, we have vaccines. So we are not faced with a challenge for scientific research. The challenge, on the other hand, is to scale up our response and get vaccines or treatments to the people who need them ».

Doctor Fauci, is it true that you intend to retire in a few years?

“No, absolutely no. I said I will resign from the federal government. But I want to make it clear to my Italian friends and colleagues that I will not retire. I will continue to research and do the same things that I am doing now, just in a different area ».

Still getting threats? Do you still have the stock? Or have you noticed an improvement in the social climate as a result of the pandemic?

“I still receive many threats against myself and my family. I am still under constant protection and it is very unfortunate that this has to happen. On the other hand, just last week a person who was preparing an attack on my life and that of my family was sentenced to more than three years in prison ».

Aug 9, 2022 (Modified Aug 9, 2022 | 08:21)