Dr. Fauci Says Americans Should ‘Be Prepared’ for More COVID Restrictions

by Amy Myers
(Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

For the first time in two years, it seems we finally have a chance at a summer with fewer COVID restrictions. However, on Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns not to be too optimistic. The White House chief medical adviser cautioned that there may be a reinstatement of previous COVID restrictions across the country.

What to Know

  • Dr. Fauci foresees future COVID restrictions
  • Restrictions are in response to BA.2 Omicron sub-variant
  • BA.2 is more transmissible and is responsible for 54.9 percent of global cases

During the interview on the BBC, a presenter inquired whether future variants of COVID could cause another round of lockdowns. But Fauci seemed hesitant to offer a concrete yes or no.

“I don’t want to use the word ‘lockdowns.’ That has a charged element to it. But, I believe that we must keep our eye on the pattern of what we’re seeing with infections,” he said.

He also acknowledged that the U.S. is currently moving towards “normalcy.”

“Having said that, we need to be prepared for the possibility that we would have another variant that would come along,” Fauci continued. “And then, if things change and we do get a variant that does give us an uptick in cases and hospitalization, we should be prepared and flexible enough to pivot toward going back – at least temporarily – to a more rigid type of restrictions, such as requiring masks indoor.”

It’s true we have seen significantly fewer cases than during the height of the Omicron surge last winter. However, there are still 42,967 new cases and 985 new deaths within the past day. This data is according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. But again, this is much lower than in January, when there were over 4,000 daily deaths.

Fauci Says Potential COVID Restrictions May Help Prevent New Variant

The newest variant that medical officials have been observing is the BA.2 omicron sub-variant. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that BA.2 is extremely transmissible and makes up for 54.9 percent of global cases. Fauci claimed that the “same conditions” appearing in Europe, where cases are having a resurgence, could follow to the U.S.

“It’s the greater transmissibility of the BA.2, it’s the relaxation of restriction, particularly in the context of indoor masking in congregate settings, and also the fact that immunity, due to both vaccination as well as people who have been previously infected, tends to wane with SARS-CoV-2 – particularly with omicron,” Fauci said. 

Besides the BA.2 variant, Fauci doesn’t foresee any other major changes in the trend of COVID cases and restrictions.

During a Washington Post event, Fauci said it wouldn’t surprise him if he saw an uptick.

“I don’t really see, unless something changes dramatically, that there would be a major surge,” he added.

However, the government now out of funds for COVID-19 vaccination doses. As a result, it’s unclear what the procedure will look like should Americans need another dose.