“We don’t want to pooh-pooh getting infected,” he said.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the White House, said Americans should continue assessing risk for themselves as COVID-19 cases tick up.
“It’s going to be a person’s decision about the individual risks they’re going to take,” Fauci told “This Week” co-anchor Jonathan Karl exclusively on Sunday.
“This is not going to be eradicated and it’s not going to be eliminated,” Fauci said. “So you’re going to make a question and an answer for yourself, for me as an individual, for you as an individual. What is my age? What is my status? Do I have people at home who are vulnerable that if I bring the virus home there may be a problem?”
Fauci said that while “there is concern that we are seeing an uptick in cases,” it’s “not unexpected that you’re going to see an uptick when you pull back on the mitigation methods.”
With 21 states now reporting an increase in COVID cases, Fauci said much of the country “is still in that green zone, which means that masking is not recommended in the sense of not required on indoor settings.”
Amid the uptick, the annual Gridiron Club Dinner held last Saturday in Washington was followed by a surge in COVID-19 cases among high-profile attendees.
“Let me ask you about the spike we’ve seen right here in Washington,” Karl said. “You and I were both at the Gridiron Dinner. This is a dinner that had about 600 or so attendees. So far, I believe we’re at 67 people that have tested positive who were at the dinner…What is the lesson here?”
“I think the people who run functions, who run big dinners, who run functions like the White House Correspondents’ ball, or thinking back, the Gridiron Dinner, are going to have to make a determination looking at the CDC guidelines and seeing where the trends are,” Fauci responded.
President Joe Biden didn’t attend the event but has been in contact with multiple prominent lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other officials who have recently tested positive or been deemed close contacts of someone who did.
“What is your level of concern about the president’s exposure here?” Karl asked.
“Well, Jon, the protocols to protect the president are pretty strong,” Fauci said. “The president is vaccinated. He is doubly boosted. He got his fourth shot of an mRNA. When people like myself and my colleagues are in the room with him closely for a considerable period of time — half an hour, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, all of us need to be tested.”
Biden, 79, received his second booster shot last month. Fauci urged those who are eligible to follow the president’s example and said the “best way to mitigate” living with “some degree of virus in the community” is to get vaccinated.
In the meantime, Fauci said, “We’re watching it very, very carefully,” adding that “hopefully we’re not going to see increased severity.”