One-on-one with Dr. Fauci: the Biden administration’s plans to tackle the omicron wave

The Washington News Bureau speaks to Dr. Anthony Fauci about the newest White House initiatives to handle the latest COVID-19 spike.
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 1:44 PM CST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Cases of COVID-19 are reaching new highs in metropolitan areas around the country due to the latest virus variant: omicron. With the variant proving an ability to cause breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals, the Biden administration is working to address the newest wave with a number of new initiatives.

Gray Television Washington News Bureau’s Kristin Kasper spoke to the president’s chief medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, about the latest plans to help the nation battle omicron just before the holiday season.

No need to change your holiday plans, but be prudent and careful: that was the message from Dr. Fauci.

From the ratio of hospitalizations and oxygen requirements to the number of cases, Fauci pointed optimistically to data on the omicron variant coming out of South Africa.

“They’re not having the degree of severity. We hope that is going to turn out to be the situation here in the U.S,” he said.

While he doesn’t expect you to cancel or change your holiday plans, he did say to avoid large gatherings, be aware of travel risks, and test as needed.

President Biden announced Tuesday he plans to purchase and ship 500 million at-home rapid tests free of charge beginning in January. We asked Dr. Fauci about the accuracy and his preference in at-home test kits.

“Well there are several FDA-approved tests,” Fauci said. “There is not necessarily a preferred one. There are a number of them that are really quite good.”

But Dr. Fauci said the at-home antigen tests are not as sensitive, and sometimes can provide false negatives.

“The fact is, if it turns out to be negative, even though you are positive, it may be that the level of virus in your nasopharynx is low enough at the time of the test, it’s unlikely you are going to transmit it to anyone.” Dr. Fauci said.

The White House also announced other updates to the president’s winter plan including creating new federal testing sites and efforts to expand hospital capacity.

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