Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to president Joe Biden, says the commander-in-chief is “doing really quite well” following a recent COVID-19 diagnosis. The White House said earlier this week that Mr. Biden is isolating in the White House and experiencing mild symptoms.
“The president continues to improve,” Fauci told “CBS Saturday Mornings.” “He’s putting in a full day of work virtually and as each day goes by, he’s doing fine. So as we’ve said before, given the fact that he’s been vaccinated, doubly boosted, and is receiving Paxlovid — a drug which clearly goes a long way to prevent the progression of disease — we fully expect that he’s going to be doing very well.”
Fauci said Mr. Biden wears a face mask when he is around others who are “doing things around him for one reason or other,” and noted that he follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when not wearing a mask.
The president’s positive COVID case comes as the BA.5 virus subvariant fuels an uptick in infections across several states in the country. According to the CDC, 126,128 new positive cases are reported daily in the U.S., increasing 0.5% compared with the previous seven-day moving average.
But Fauci said the average count of positive cases “is likely a rather significant undercount.”
“It’s probably several-fold more than that because many people get infected, have mild to moderate symptoms and don’t report it,” he said.
Scientists are also concerned with a spike in hospitalizations. According to Fauci around 40,000 people are in hospitals and 300 to 400 deaths related to COVID are reported on average. He says the hospitalizations and death toll is “really not acceptable.”
And while the future of the virus is difficult to forecast, the immunologist said he foresees the country eventually arriving to a point where COVID will no longer “disrupt the social order.”
“I believe ultimately we’re not going to eliminate or eradicate this virus,” he said. “We’re going to have to live with it because it’s the virus that has such a degree of transmissibility that it’s not going to just disappear.”
But he noted that “we are not at that point now.”
“It is premature to think we don’t have a problem to deal with because although we’d like the virus to be behind us in the rearview mirror as we say, the virus is not acting that way right now,” he said. “Although we’d all like to be free of the virus, we’re not free of it yet. We’re going to have to learn to live with it but we’ve got to do better than we’re doing right now.”
He emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated and boosted, as well as wearing a mask indoors in settings with high levels of viral dynamics.
“Those are the kinds of things we can do to prevent even more of an uptick in cases than we’re seeing right now,” Fauci said.