Fauci outlines pandemic long-term return to normal: 'best-case scenario' we learn to live with it


Dr. Anthony Fauci outlined a path toward a long-term plan to live with COVID-19, claiming it’s the “best-case scenario.” 

The president’s chief medical advisor predicted this week the current surge of cases caused by the omicron variant will peak by mid-February, leaving officials wondering what happens next. 

Fauci said on ABC’s “This Week” that the best-case scenario will be to bring the virus under control and learn to live with it. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor and director of the NIAID, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrive to participate in the White House COVID-19 Response Team's regular call with the National Governors Association in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus Dec. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House chief medical advisor and director of the NIAID, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, arrive to participate in the White House COVID-19 Response Team’s regular call with the National Governors Association in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus Dec. 27, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) 

“Control means you’re not eliminating it, you’re not eradicating it,” Fauci explained. “But it gets down to such a low level that it’s essentially integrated into the general respiratory infections that we have learned to live with.”

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“I mean, we would like them not to be present, but they’re there, but they don’t disrupt society,” Fauci added, noting that the medical community will hopefully deal with COVID-19 on a “case-by-case basis” going forward. 

Nurse Ray Akindele processes COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at a testing site in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Nurse Ray Akindele processes COVID-19 rapid antigen tests at a testing site in Long Beach, Calif., Jan. 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

After vaccinations, Fauci pointed to therapies and tests as the key components to controlling the pandemic and learning to “live with it.” 

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“If we have those things in place – vaccine testing, masks, therapy – we could keep it at that low level,” he said. 

Pharmacist Kenni Clark prepares a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence's "The Center," which serves seniors, families and the community, Dec. 29, 2021, in Lawrence, Mass. 

Pharmacist Kenni Clark prepares a booster dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine during a vaccination clinic at City of Lawrence’s “The Center,” which serves seniors, families and the community, Dec. 29, 2021, in Lawrence, Mass. 
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

The question of a fourth shot – a second booster – lingers in the public discussion, but Fauci tamped down any discussion on the matter until further studies can show the durability of protection from the first booster shot. 

“Certainly, you’re going to see the antibody levels go down – that’s natural,” Fauci said. “But there’s an element of the immune response — B cell memory and T cell responses — where, even though you do see a diminution of antibody levels, it is quite conceivable, and I hope it’s true, that the third shot boost will give a much greater durability of protection.”

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“But before we make that decision about yet again another boost, we want to determine clearly what the durability of protection is of that regular boost, that third shot that we’re talking about,” Fauci said.

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