The controversial White House chief medical advisor suggested that COVID's Omicron subvariant may cause an "uptick" in new cases, causing a need for wearing masks indoors.
On Sunday's "This Week" on ABC, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the BA.2 variant of COVID will cause an "uptick" of new cases, which may lead to the reinstitution of indoor mask mandates. The White House chief medical advisor said that it would not be an "unexpected" outcome.
"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," Dr. Fauci explained, as per Breitbart.
"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," Dr, Fauci added.
The White House chief medical advisor explained however, that when COVID restrictions such as masking are relaxed amidst a "highly transmissible virus like the BA.2 variant" and "waning immunity," there will definitely be an "uptick" in new COVID cases. He added that health experts are hoping that there won't be a "concomitant comparable increase in severity," which means requiring hospitalizations or death.
Dr. Fauci continued to warn the public 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." The White House chief medical advisor assured, however, that his agency continues to monitor the situation carefully.
According to Bloomberg, some states in the Northeast have shown small increases of new COVID cases. However, COVID case numbers remain the lowest since summer of 2021 while hospitalizations are at its lowest since the pandemic began in 2020. Dr. Fauci said that he hopes there won't be a large spike in new cases, especially when the U.S. has built "a significant amount of background immunity" from COVID vaccines and widespread infections.
With the COVID pandemic under control in the U.S., government authorities have shifted its mission for the military. Its new mission, according to U.S. News is "to prepare for the next crisis threatening a large population, whatever its nature." Gen. Glen VanHerck reported that the experiences of the Army medical teams will "help shape...the military's medical response...needed for another pandemic, global crisis or conflict."
In response to the COVID pandemic, about 24,000 troops were deployed, including nearly 6,000 medical personnel to hospitals and 5,000 to help administer vaccines. For now, the mission is over. Now, the mission for VanHerck and his team is to "[rewrite pandemic and infectious disease plans]" and determine if the U.S. has enough military medical staff in the active duty and reserves.
VanHerck has now set up 10 teams of physicians, nurses, and other staff comprising 200 troops on call to respond to orders through the end of May in the event of a sudden surge of COVID cases.