https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/fauci-predicts-another-rise-in-covid-19-cases-and-need-for-fourth-vaccine-shot

The United States may see another rise in coronavirus cases, Dr. Anthony Fauci said, as he also predicted there will be a need for people to get a fourth dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, briefed House Democrats and spoke with Bloomberg on Thursday, the same day President Joe Biden announced that Jeff Zients would step aside as COVID-19 response coordinator and be replaced by Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of Brown University’s School of Public Health.

“I would predict that we are going to see a bit of an increase, or at least a flattening out and plateauing of the diminution of cases. And the question is, how do we deal with that?” Fauci told the news outlet.

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Fauci cited three factors attributed to fueling a rise in cases in Europe and the United Kingdom that can already be seen in the United States: the BA.2 “stealth” subvariant of omicron, loosened restrictions, and diminishing protection from the vaccines already administered.

As the number of cases in the U.S. has dropped significantly over the past several weeks, states and cities have continued to lift mask and vaccine mandates, among other restrictions and guidance.

“Sooner or later, we will need a fourth,” Fauci said about a second booster shot to lawmakers. The outlet noted he said this may only apply to the elderly and people with underlying conditions, at first.

Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is a two-dose regimen, as is the vaccine from Moderna, while Johnson & Johnson has a one-shot vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises eligible individuals who completed their Pfizer and Moderna vaccine series to get a booster shot after five months. Those who got the J&J jab are advised to get boosted after two months.

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A total of 79,531,917 coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. to date, along with a total of 967,450 coronavirus-related deaths, according to the New York Times Coronavirus Map and Tracker. Within the past 14 days, there has been a 43% decrease in cases and a 31% decrease in deaths.

“It’s really in a transition stage. We are obviously going in the right direction,” Fauci said. “We have to be really careful and not declare total victory prematurely. I do believe we will be able to settle into a degree of normality.”

The Biden administration has asked Congress for $22.5 billion in COVID-19 funding, without which the U.S. would slide into an “almost unconscionable” situation in which “a lot of things are going to stop,” Fauci said. “It really will be a very serious situation.”

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