American immunologist and head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
President Biden’s chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci predicted Wednesday that there will likely be a rise in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks as well as a potential surge in the fall.
“I think we should expect, David, that over the next couple of weeks, we are going to see an uptick in cases – and hopefully there is enough background immunity so that we don’t wind up with a lot of hospitalizations,” Fauci told Bloomberg TV’s David Westin.
Fauci, who serves as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the increase in infections could come as a result of waning immunity and the loosening of COVID-19 restrictions across the U.S.
“Those conditions are also present in the United States,” he said. “So, I would not be surprised if we see an uptick in cases. Whether that uptick becomes a surge where there are a lot more cases is difficult to predict.”
When Fauci was asked whether the U.S. will be faced with a similar COVID-19 surge in the fall as the country has experienced for the past two years, he said the prospect is “likely,” noting that “these are uncharted waters for us with this virus.”
“I would think that we should expect that we are going to see some increase in cases as you get to the colder weather in the fall,” he said. “That’s the reason why the [Food and Drug Administration] and their advisory committee are meeting right now to plan a strategy, and we at the [National Institutes of Health] are doing studies now to determine what the best boost would be.”
Over the past two fall seasons during the pandemic, the U.S. has experienced a surge in cases due to the holiday season when families gather and the colder weather that forces people indoors.
Fauci’s remarks come as the BA.2 variant, which has an increased level of transmissibility compared to the original omicron strain, has become the dominant variant in the U.S.
New York City and Washington, D.C., have seen a rapid rise in coronavirus cases over the past two weeks, according to The New York Times COVID-19 tracker. However, the cases are still relatively low compared to January’s spike.
The coronavirus is also making its way through Congress. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tested positive for the disease earlier this week. Following the news of her infection, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) announced she had tested positive for COVID-19.