Dr. Fauci Says That Omicron Will Infect ‘Just About Everybody’

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We’ve spent almost the past two years doing everything we could to avoid getting Covid. There have been lockdowns to try to slow the spread of the virus. We’ve learned how to know if a face mask is effective, and we’ve all gotten better about frequently washing our hands.

We avoid travel to locations that are Covid hot spots. We know to quarantine when we return from traveling to a hot spot or when we have been exposed to someone who has Covid. We’ve got this. Right?

According to Dr. Fauci, “Just about everybody” is going to end up getting the latest strain of Covid called omicron. This highly contagious version of the virus is sweeping across the nation, and it turns out that it’s even harder to avoid than the original strain. The cute face mask we bought from Etsy might not be good enough to protect us from this virus, but that’s also no reason to panic.

During a “fireside chat” with 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.” 

Dr. Fauci didn’t end there. This is not necessarily a sentence of doom. Instead, he added that many people, especially people who are vaccinated, will fight off Omicron fairly easily. He said, “Those who have been vaccinated and 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.”

According to Dr. Fauci, even people who are unvaccinated will mainly do well fighting off Omicron, but not everyone will survive. He cautioned, “Unfortunately, those who are still unvaccinated are going to get the brunt of the severe aspect of this, and although it is less severe on a case by case basis, when you quantitatively have so many people who are infected, a fraction of them, even if it’s a small fraction, are going to get seriously ill and are going to die, and that’s the reason why it will challenge our health system.”

Dr. Fauci’s comments about Omicron echo those of acting commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, Janet Woodcock. At a senate hearing this past Tuesday, Woodcock said, “it’s hard to process what’s actually happening right now, which is most people are going to get COVID.”

In defense of her comment, on Wednesday, at a Covid-19 briefing, Dr. Fauci explained that Woodcock didn’t mean that “most of us were ultimately going to get sick with omicron.” As Dr. Fauci mentioned in the fireside chat, many people will get exposed to or infected with Omicron, but many of those people also will not get extremely sick.

Does it concern you that Dr. Fauci believes most people will end up getting Omicron? Are you vaccinated? Does the contagious factor of Omicron motivate you to get vaccinated or get boosted?