Top White House medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that “we shouldn’t be surprised” if a new variant of COVID-19 emerges in the winter.
Speaking during an event with the USC Annenberg Center for Health Journalism, Fauci said that while pandemic trends such as hospitalizations have slowed across the country, challenges remain.
“We should anticipate that it’s very possible that another variant will emerge that eludes the immune response that we get from infection and/or from vaccination,” Fauci said, noting that there is always a risk of an uptick in respiratory illness. during the winter months.
Last winter, the omicron variant led to a spike in cases, and multiple sublineages have since spread.
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“Remember, we were heading in the right direction in the summer of 2021 and delta came along. Then in the winter, November, December 2021, omicron came along. And, since then, we’ve had multiple omicron sub-lineages,” he said.
The White House and health officials are encouraging eligible Americans to receive an updated omicron-specific booster shot of the coronavirus vaccine.
Fauci noted that the vaccine was targeting the most widely circulated variant.
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Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that BA.5 is the prevalent variant, accounting for more than 81% of cases.
According to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, COVID-19 has killed more than a million people in the US and infected more than 96 million.
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In the last day, there were more than 42,000 new cases and 542 new deaths.