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Dr. Fauci warns the worst of the pandemic is yet to come

Updated Dec 28th, 2020 12:25PM EST
Coronavirus Pandemic
Image: Kevin Dietsch - Pool via CNP/MEGA

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  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said the coronavirus pandemic might get even worse in January, as the number of cases continued to increase, fueled in part by the holidays.
  • “As we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse,” Fauci said on CNN on Sunday.
  • December was the deadliest month of the pandemic in the US. More than 63,000 people died in the same month that the COVID-19 vaccination campaigns started.

November was the worst month of the pandemic for America, setting record after record for daily cases, hospitalizations, and daily deaths. But December has been even worse. The month isn’t even over, and December is the deadliest month in the US since the pandemic began. More than 63,000 people died in the first 26 days, which is nearly twice as many as in November. Experts worry that January might be even worse than that. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is among them.

Fauci warned all summer long that the US would have a major problem if transmission wasn’t reduced significantly by winter. He then warned that people should avoid gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The country was already experiencing a massive surge, and he foresaw surges upon surges if safety measures were not respected. He continues to believe that things might get even worse, just as Americans start to get vaccinated.

“We very well might see a post-seasonal — in the sense of Christmas, New Years — surge,” Fauci said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday. “If you look at the slope, the incline of cases that we’ve experienced as we’ve gone into the late fall and soon to be early winter, it is really quite troubling,” he added.

“When you’re dealing with a baseline of 200,000 new cases a day and about 2,000 deaths per day, with the hospitalizations over 120,000, we are really at a very critical point,” Fauci said. “As we get into the next few weeks, it might actually get worse.”

Fauci’s comments came in response to a question about Joe Biden’s recent comments about the pandemic. The president-elect said during a news conference last Tuesday that the pandemic will get worse. “Experts say things will get worse notwithstanding the vaccine,” Biden said. “We’re averaging a death rate of close to 3,000 a day. That means we will lose tens of thousands of more lives in the months to come, and the vaccine won’t be able to stop that.”

Fauci also addressed the vaccination campaign, saying that it’s slowly starting to gain momentum. “I’m pretty confident that as we gain more and more momentum, as we transition from December to January and then February to March, I believe we will catch up with the projection,” he said.

Fauci reiterated his expectation that it won’t be until summer that vaccines will be widely available and begin to make a meaningful impact. He said that herd immunity would need 70% to 85% of the population to get immunized.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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