Dr Anthony Fauci, the best infectious disease expert in the United States, said he believed the new, more contagious version of the new coronavirus, first discovered in the UK, was also more virulent.
When British scientists first studied the mutation “intensively” on a case-by-case basis, Fauci said they initially thought the variant was more transmissible, but not necessarily more likely to cause serious illness or death.
“When they went and became more gradual and looked at the data, they became convinced that they were actually a little more virulent, namely difficult when you get to the point of serious illness and even death. So I believe their data. I haven̵
ABC News has learned that US President Joe Biden plans to ban the entry of most non-US citizens who have recently been to South Africa, as well as to lift the entry ban for almost all citizens outside Brazil, Ireland, the United Kingdom and 26 other European countries that allow travel across open borders. This move comes as new, more contagious variants of the new coronavirus emerge from South Africa, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Some researchers worry that mutations could reduce the strength of the two COVID-19 vaccines currently in use in the United States.
Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser, said he believed the travel ban in South Africa was “reasonable” and “the right decision”, although he acknowledged that “there is always the possibility and even the possibility of some slippage”.
“At the moment, although our observation is not as comprehensive as we would like it to be, it still does not appear that this particular mutant is in the United States – although it may be,” he said. “But if you have a free influx of people from a country where this mutant is clearly dominant – I often talk to my colleagues in South Africa, he is obviously dominant there – I believe that the travel ban will be important, in addition to the situation, in which anyone entering the country now will have to have a negative test before even boarding the plane when they land to obtain a quarantine degree, as well as another test.
Fauci expressed hope that vaccine shortages and delays in many communities in the United States would be corrected “within a very reasonable period of time,” while warning, “it will take some time.”
“We have to pull all the stops,” he said. “We need to go into the trenches and find out exactly at this local level what’s going on and how to fix it.”
He said “getting vaccinated on the track” was “Biden’s top priority”.
“The president said it in public, but in a private session, just sitting with him and the medical team, he is very serious. He said, ‘Science will rule. We will look at the facts. We will look at the evidence. We will review the data, “Fauci recalls.” So the idea that the president himself is sitting with you says, ‘I want science to govern, to go there, and do everything we have to do to do it,’ very refreshing. “