Dr. Fauci shoots down a reporter's 'really dangerous' idea to let the omicron variant run rampant

Dr. Fauci shoots down a reporter's 'really dangerous' idea to let the omicron variant run rampant
(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony S. Fauci addresses his remarks and urges citizens to continue to follow the President’s coronavirus guidelines during a coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in the James S. Brady White House Press Briefing Room of the White House.

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It remains to be seen how dangerous COVID-19’s new omicron variant is compared to the Delta variant; scientists and medical experts still have a lot to learn about it. But when Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Omicron during a press conference this week, he stressed that the less it is allowed to spread, the better.

A reporter at the press conference asked Fauci: If omicron proves “more transmissible but less virulent than Delta, would there be any public health benefit to furthering its spread by lifting travel restrictions?”

Fauci’s response was direct, blunt and forceful. The 80-year-old expert immunologist, who has worked in the federal government since the late 1960s and is President Joe Biden’s top White House medical adviser, told the reporter, “You’re talking about something really dangerous. You’re talking about: Let a lot of people get infected to see if, in fact, you could protect them. That’s something that I think almost all infectious disease people with any knowledge about infectious disease would not say (is) a good idea.”

In 2020, Dr. Scott Atlas — one of then-President Donald Trump’s pandemic advisers — made a “herd immunity” type of argument about COVID-19. Atlas’ advice was essentially to let COVID-19 spread, but protect those most at risk. And Fauci aggressively argued against that approach, butting heads with Atlas during Trump’s final months in office.

READ: The Pentagon's new warning means World War III may arrive sooner than you think

Biden, in contrast to Trump, has relied heavily on Fauci’s advice and made a very different type of “herd immunity” argument from Atlas. The Democratic president has maintained that the best way to achieve a “herd immunity” type of result is to limit COVID-19’s spread by getting as many Americans vaccinated for it as possible. And Biden and Fauci are now encouraging Americans to receive widely available COVID-19 booster shots.

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