“We’re definitely turning the corner on this particular surge, Jon,” top national infectious disease expert Jonathan Karl, co-host of “This Week” said on Sunday. “But for almost 20 months we have experienced surges that go up, then down, then back up. The way to keep it low, to make sure that this turnaround continues to go down, is to do what we mentioned: Get people vaccinated. “
“When you have 70 million people in the country who are eligible to be vaccinated, who are not yet vaccinated, that’s the danger zone right there,” he added. “So it’s in our ability to make sure that this turnaround that we’re seeing – this very favorable and optimistic turnaround – continues to fade and doesn’t do what we’ve seen a few times before, where it happens and then it goes back up. “
Despite the positive signs, the United States also marked a dark stage this week in the pandemic, surpassing 700,000 deaths from COVID-19 on Friday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
“It’s the most dreaded virus,” Fauci said, reflecting on the staggering death toll.
“There are some things about it that were just inevitable, in the sense that there were going to be deaths, there was going to be a lot of infections around the world, no matter what everyone else was doing. But there were situations where we could have done better, and we can do better, and I think we’re going through that right now, ”Fauci said, again pointing to eligible Americans who weren’t vaccinated.
“When you say ‘Are any of these deaths preventable?’ They certainly are. In fact, in the future, most deaths could be preventable if we get people vaccinated, ”he said.
One state taking action to increase immunizations is California, where Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new requirement for all eligible students in the state to be immunized without opting out of testing.
While some parents have expressed outrage at the move, Fauci argued that the demands are really nothing new.
“I have been and still am in favor of these kinds of mandates. You can make a few exceptions to it, but in general people see it like it’s something new and new, when in fact, all through, you know, years and years, decades, we made the children go to school to receive different types of vaccines – measles, mumps, rubella and others, ”he said.
“So when people treat it like something new and terrible, it’s not. The obligation for children to come to school, to be vaccinated with certain vaccines, is not something new. It’s been around for a very long time, ”Fauci continued.
While increasing vaccinations remains the priority of the Biden administration, Fauci also noted positive preliminary results from a new antiviral drug from pharmaceutical company Merck, which has shown that it could reduce the risk of disease by 50%. hospitalization or death for a person infected with COVID.
Fauci stressed that the drug will “absolutely not” replace vaccination, but said the future implementation of the drug holds great promise.
“This is a big deal, Jon, I mean you now have a small molecule drug that can be given orally,” he said, “and the results of the trial we just got from announcement yesterday and the day before are really quite impressive. “