Dr Anthony Fauci has defended remarks made on Tuesday following a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director was heard calling Mr Marshall “a moron” when the senator questioned if he should have a publicly available financial disclosure form.
Dr Fauci told MSNBC on Wednesday that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”.
Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr Janet Woodcock, acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, also appeared before lawmakers to answer questions on the US response to new variants of Covid-19.
The hearing comes as health policymakers say they believe the administration needs an urgent reset in the way it is approaching the new realities of the pandemic, although Dr Fauci has suggested that the US was on the “threshold” of Covid-19 becoming an endemic.
Dr Fauci is the target of a video released on Monday evening by Project Veritas claiming that he was involved in research projects related to coronaviruses by the Wuhan Institute of Virology that were deemed too risky by the Department of Defense, emails cited by the group claim.
Democrats champion Dr Fauci for ‘destroying’ Rand Paul
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 12:45
What did Dr Fauci and Rand Paul argue about?
Dr Fauci came to blows with senator Rand Paul during a committee hearing on Tuesday, and accused the lawmaker of “distorting everything about me”.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told the senator that he was distorting the content of an email about scientific criticism, and kept on “coming back to personal attacks on me that have absolutely no relevance.”
The confrontation came to a head when Dr Fauci accused Mr Paul of attempting to build his personal brand amongst Republicans by fundraising with a “fire Dr Fauci” graphic on his website – with a print out from the senator’s website.
As Meghan Sheets and John Bowden write, the confrontation afterwards went viral on Twitter and follows a long-running feud between Republicans and Dr Fauci:
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 12:20
Dr Fauci says Omicron ‘will ultimately find just about everybody’
Dr Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that US was approaching the “threshold” of living with Covid-19, and that almost everyone will be exposed to the highly-contagious Omicron variant eventually.
“Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody,” he said in front of the the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
He said of an endemic: “When we get there, there’s that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now”.
His comments came as Omicron spreads through the US, which on Monday reported more than a million cases in 24 hours, and what is the highest known total for cases of an country so far.
Deaths from the virus have meanwhile been averaging at about 1,700 a day, and numbers of those vaccinated against Covid in the US remain below that of comparable countries, as Alisha Rahaman Sarkar writes:
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 11:55
When will the pandemic end?
The Covid-19 pandemic will not end like flipping a light switch off, but according to health experts will come when the world has learnt to live with the virus.
Omicron’s emergence has been a reminder that while vaccines provide strong protection against severe illness, new variants of Covid-19 will to happen “unless we really get serious about the endgame,” said Dr Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health.
“Certainly Covid will be with us forever,” Dr Ko said in an interview with The Associated Press earlier this month. “We’re never going to be able to eradicate or eliminate Covid, so we have to identify our goals.”
As Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday, that will likely be when each country has reached a point at which vaccines and drugs ensure that Covid cases are easily treatable in persons at high risk.
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 11:30
UK ‘closest to any country’ of Covid becoming endemic
An academic at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) has said the UK is among the closest of any country in to reaching the point of Covid-19 becoming an ednemic.
“In general, now, the countries that we know best in the northern hemisphere have varying stages of the pandemic,” said Professor David Heymann.
“And probably, in the UK, it’s the closest to any country of being out of the pandemic if it isn’t already out of the pandemic and having the disease as endemic as the other four coronaviruses.”
His remarks come as Dr Fauci suggested on Tuesday that the US was nearing the “threshold” of Covid-19 becoming an endemic, and told a senate committee that would bewhen “there’ll be enough protection in [the] community, enough drugs available”.
As Jane Kirby writes, Covid-19 may not be declared over “until all countries have completed what they need to do to make this virus more tame and to become endemic”.
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 11:05
Fauci defends hot mic comments
Dr Anthony Fauci has defended calling US senator Roger Marshall a “moron” during a senate committee hearing on health, education, labour and pensions on Tuesday.
The chief US medical advisor told MSNBC News that he was stunned to know “that a sitting United States senator doesn’t realise that my financial statement is public knowledge”, after being called on to make his financial statements public by Mr Marshall.
As Namita Singh writes, he had asked the infectious diseases expert: “Will you be willing to submit to Congress and public a financial disclosure that includes your past and current investments?”
“I don’t know why you are asking me that question,” a confused Dr Fauci said. “My financial disclosure is public knowledge and has been so of 35 years (sic)… It is totally accessible to you if you want it.”
Gino Spocchia12 January 2022 10:41
Study finds Omicron causes less severe illness, shorter hospital stays
A new study on 70,000 patients in California has found that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus diseases causes less severe illness and shorter hospital stays.
“It’s truly a viral factor that accounts for reduced severity,” said author of the study Joseph Lewnard, epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley to The New York Times.
The study, which has not yet been published in a scientific journal was conducted by analysing electronic health care records maintained by Kaiser Permanente of Southern California, which serves 4.7 million people.
69,279 symptomatic patients who tested positive for the coronavirus between 30 November and 1 January were analysed for the study.
While three-quarters of the samples contained the Omicron variant, the rest were Delta.
The study found that Omicron was half as likely to send patients to hospitals in comparison to Delta and other variants.
The variant also cut hospital stays by 70 per cent compared to the Delta variant by reducing the number of days in the hospital by more than three days.
The study also found that vaccinated people were 64 per cent to 73 percent less likely to be hospitalized than those who are unvaccinated.
My colleague Nathan Place reports on how Omicron cases have overwhelmed hospitals in early hit cities across US:
Sravasti Dasgupta12 January 2022 07:00
Rapid tests not included in US’ total count, says CDC director
Rapid tests are not being included in the total count of coronavirus cases in the US, the Center for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the senate hearing on the Biden administration’s preparedness and response to new Covid-19 variants, CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “We have been using the PCR test — not the rapid test — the lab tests, the molecular tests, to really capture our case counts and really get a good view of where we are in terms of the epidemiology, anticipating what was going to be coming into the hospitals.”
Dr Walensky added that the tests remain important for those infected to isolate themselves immediately, especially if they are asymptomatic.
“I think that it’s less about the absolute case count of understanding whether you have asymptomatic infection, or a runny nose and your rapid test is positive than it is really about empowering you to do the right thing and not be forward-transmitting.”
“The self-tests are a really important, valuable tool for people to empower themselves, their own health, to not expose themselves to other people, to get some information about their own health,” she added.
Sravasti Dasgupta12 January 2022 06:43
Omicron will find just about everybody, Dr Fauci says
The US’s top infectious diseases expert Dr Anthony Fauci has said that “just about everybody” will ultimately be infected by the Omicron variant of Covid, and that those who are vaccinated will fare better in fighting off the disease.
Speaking to J. Stephen Morrison, senior vice president of the Center for Strategic and International Studies Dr Fauci said, “Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody.”
“Those who have been vaccinated … and boosted would get exposed. Some, maybe a lot of them, will get infected but will very likely, with some exceptions, do reasonably well in the sense of not having hospitalisation and death,” he added.
In contrast, those who are not vaccinated “are going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this,” he said.
Dr Fauci said that the country “may be on the threshold” of a new phase of the pandemic where there’s “enough protection in the community and drugs to easily treat severe Covid-19”.
Dr Fauci’s comments came after a Senate hearing earlier on Tuesday on the Biden administration’s response to new variants of Covid-19.
Sravasti Dasgupta12 January 2022 05:32
United Airlines CEO says vaccine mandate ended weekly staff deaths
The CEO of United Airlines has told his staff in an open letter that the company’s vaccine mandate has ended the “weekly” deaths that previously plagued the organisation.
There are still 3,000 United employees who are infected with the virus, but Scott Kirby told his staff that “zero of our vaccinated employees are currently hospitalised”.
“Prior to our vaccine requirement, tragically, more than one United employee on average *per week* was dying from Covid,” Mr Kirby wrote, as Gustaf Kilander reports:
Oliver O’Connell12 January 2022 04:45