White House Chief Medical Adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci was interviewed by ABC News’ Linsey Davis on Wednesday and was asked how we’ll know when the pandemic is over.
Unsurprisingly, Fauci refused to define a threshold.
“In those months ahead, our country, right now, at least, is still seeing about 147,000 new cases of COVID per day,” Davis said. “But what would that threshold be in the future for you to say, okay, the pandemic has passed?”
“You know, there’s no magic number,” Fauci replied. “But you want is to make sure the trajectory keeps going down and down and down. And I think the important issue, and that relates to one of the questions you asked before about the CDC considering giving more precise metrics for decisionmaking, that concentrating more on what the rate of severe disease and hospitalization is will determine that. We don’t know what that number is yet. But that will be much more of a determinant than the rate of infection.”
Why wouldn’t (or couldn’t) Fauci say that once cases remain below a specific number for a period of time, we could confidently consider ourselves past the pandemic?
Fauci could have come up with a really low number, like 25,000 new cases daily, or said the pandemic would be past when COVID-19 cases approach numbers comparable to the seasonal flu. Literally, anything would have been better than his ambiguous response. So, why didn’t he offer a threshold? There have been pandemics in the past and they all ended at some point. So surely there must be some method for determining the end of a pandemic other than “it’s over when we say it’s over.”
It seems like the only reason not to offer a clear endpoint is that Fauci doesn’t want a specific point at which the pandemic would be considered over. As long as it’s ambiguous, the government can continue to justify COVID restrictions. By refusing to commit to anything now, he not only avoids putting the government in a position where people will expect all restrictions to be loosened or lifted, but he also gives Democrats cover by not admitting that there won’t be an end.
The people want the pandemic to be over with, but the Biden administration does not. That much is clear.
You can watch the entire interview below: