"COVID Variants Could Make Pandemic Even Worse," Dr. Fauci


President Joe Biden's top priority is to get as many people vaccinated as quickly as possible, but meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic could still get worse because of the variants that are surfacing with the virus, Dr. Anthony Fauci, his chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Thursday.

"We still have a lot of cases and we still have a very serious issue here, and the thing that's troublesome now that we really need to keep our eye on are these variants," Fauci said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "You know, the U.K. has had some significant issue with their variant — 117 is the lineage as we refer to it. It is here in the United States. It's in at least 28 states and well over 300 individuals have already been reported."

The vaccines that are being distributed now look as if they can contain the U.K. variant, but another more dominant variant in South Africa is of "greater concern," he added.

The administration is calling for people to get vaccinated as fast as they can, said Fauci, to "give the virus less of a chance to evolve as a mutant form that you then would have more trouble with."

Drug makers are already planning a modified version of the vaccine that could be directed specifically against the South African variant, he continued.

"Things are looking a bit better about plateauing, but on the other hand, we could have some difficult times that we have to be prepared for," Fauci said.

An agreement was announced on Wednesday to obtain 100 million doses each from Moderna and Pfizer," the doctor added, "so you're going to see an acceleration as we get into February, March, and April of a greater availability of doses at the same time that we logistically make it easier to get them into the arms of people."

Meanwhile, Fauci said he backs CDC recommendations about returning children to schools, but Biden's goal is to get children in kindergarten through eighth grades back in their classes.

He also predicted that the nation could "approach normality substantially," by fall, if all steps are taken efficiently, but warned that it still won't be like "turning a light switch on and all of sudden everything is going to be back to normal



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