Jan. 13, 2022 - With a record number of COVID-19 cases being reported, two top U.S. health officials made a stark prediction on Tuesday: Most Americans eventually will be infected with the virus.
“I think it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get COVID,” FDA acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock, MD, told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee.
Woodcock had been asked if the United States needed to change its COVID strategy. She said people need to accept the reality of widespread infection so the nation can focus on maintaining “continuity of operations” in crucial sectors.
“What we need to do is make sure the hospitals can still function, transportation, you know, other essential services are not disrupted while this happens,” she said. “I think after that will be a good time to reassess how we’re approaching this pandemic.”
Anthony Fauci, MD, chief White House medical adviser, said COVID will infect “just about everybody.”
"Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody," Fauci said in a virtual fireside chat with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"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 hospitalization and death."
Fauci had been asked if the pandemic had entered a new phase. He said that might happen when there's enough community protection and drugs to easily treat severe COVID. "We may be on the threshold of that right now," he said.
The U.S. reported 1.35 million new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest daily total for any country in the world during the pandemic.
The U.S. set the previous record of 1 million cases on Jan. 3. A large number of cases are reported on Mondays because many states don’t provide updates over the weekend.