Dr. Anthony Fauci on Tuesday said the U.S could move beyond the COVID-19 health emergency next year if the U.S. ramps up vaccination rates, and those who are already vaccinated get their booster shots.
FAUCI: "Look what other countries are doing now about adopting a booster campaign virtually for everybody. I think if we do that, and we do it in earnest, I think by the spring we can have pretty good control of this."
In an interview at the Reuters Total Health conference, Fauci said there is a range of opinion as to what is considered "under control," but he disagrees with those who argue that it is time to start learning to live with the virus. He says current cases levels are too high.
"I don't want to sit back when we have 70,000 to 85,000 new infections a day and say, 'Oh, well, we can't do any better than that. Let's live with that.' Sorry, that's not where we want to be."
Fauci says the key to controlling the virus is booster shots, currently available at least six months after completing prior vaccination for at-risk groups, though some states and New York City have expanded boosters to most adults.
While the pandemic phase of COVID may end soon, experts believe the virus will not be eliminated and will likely become endemic, meaning it will always be present, like the flu or chickenpox. To reach that goal, Fauci says more Americans need to roll up their sleeves.
"So for me, endemicity means a lot more people are getting vaccinated, a lot more people get boosted, and although you don't eliminate or eradicate, that infection is not dominating your life."
The Reuters Total Health conference runs virtually Through Nov. 18.