National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week” that the new BA.2 variant of COVID will cause an “uptick” of cases which might cause a return to requirements for wearing masks indoors.
Fauci said, “Obviously, there is concern that we are seeing an uptick in cases, as I mentioned over the last couple of weeks, that this is not unexpected, that you’re going to see an uptick when you pull back on the mitigation methods. If you look at the CDC calculation with their new metrics, it’s clear that most of the country, even though we’re seeing an uptick, is still in that green zone, which means that masking is not recommended in the sense of not required on indoor settings.”
He continued, “But as people pull back when you have a highly transmissible virus like the BA.2 variant, and you have pulling back on mitigation methods at the same time there’s waning immunity, we’re going to see an uptick.”
Fauci added, “What we’re hoping happens, and I believe it will, is that you won’t see a concomitant comparable increase in severity In the sense of people requiring hospitalizations and deaths. But the idea that we’re going to see an uptick, I think people need to appreciate that’s the case and follow the CDC guidelines because, remember, when the metrics were put forth, the new metrics looking at the guidance of masking, it was said that if we do start seeing an uptick, particularly of hospitalizations, we may need to revert back to being more careful and having more utilizations of masks indoors. Right now, we’re watching it very, very carefully, and there is concern that it’s going up, but hopefully, we’re not going to see increased severity.”
Follow Pam Key on Twitter @pamkeyNEN