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article imageFauci addresses UK variant of COVID-19 and US vaccination effort

By Karen Graham     Jan 24, 2021 in Health
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, during an interview on Sunday, said that recent British data likely suggests the new COVID-19 strain is deadlier, but “we want to look at the data ourselves"
In an interview on CBS's Face the Nation, hosted by Margaret Brennan, Dr. Fauci talked about the claims by British health officials that the UK variant of COVID-19 may be deadlier, reports The Hill.
Asked by Brennan about his earlier claims that the strain, while more infectious, was apparently no deadlier, Fauci said: “The data that came out was after they had been saying all along that it did not appear to be more deadly. So that’s where we got that information.”
"When the British investigators looked more closely at the death rate of a certain age group, and they found that it was one per thousand… and then it went up to 1.3 per thousand in a certain group,” Fauci added.
“That’s a significant increase. So the most recent data is in accord with what the Brits are saying. We want to look at the data ourselves, but we have every reason to believe them. They’re a very competent group.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a new virus variant was spreading with 'frightening ease and ...
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a new virus variant was spreading with 'frightening ease and speed'
On Friday, during a news conference, the UK's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, explained that patients who were hospitalized with the new variant did not appear to have a higher risk of dying - compared to those patients hospitalized with the original form of the virus.
However, he said, "When data are looked at in terms of... anyone who has tested positive there is evidence that there is an increased risk for those who have the new variant compared to the old [one.]" Vallance added that the evidence wasn't that strong yet, while the data remains "uncertain."
Vallance explained further: "If you took... a man in their 60s, the average risk is that for 1,000 people who got infected, roughly 10 would be expected to, unfortunately, die with the virus. With the new variant, for 1,000 people infected, roughly 13 or 14 people might be expected to die," he said Friday.
As for Americans, Dr. Fauci said we “need to assume now that what has been circulating dominantly in the U.K. does have a certain increase in what we call virulence, namely the power of the virus to cause more damage, including death.”
Widely-respected scientist Anthony Fauci said he took the shot 'as a symbol to the rest of the ...
Widely-respected scientist Anthony Fauci said he took the shot 'as a symbol to the rest of the country that I feel extreme confidence in the safety and the efficacy of this vaccine'
Patrick Semansky, POOL/AFP
The vaccination effort in the U.S.
Dr. Fauci also addressed the new administration's vaccination effort, saying that President Joe Biden's goal of giving 100 million doses in 100 days is "really a floor and not a ceiling." He called the goal a "reasonable target," adding that it will still be a challenge, according to the Washington Post.
New modeling by the Biden team shows that 100 million shots would translate to about 33 million people being fully immunized and 67 million at least partially immunized in 100 days. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says almost 17.4 million Americans have received at least one shot so far.
On Sunday, the United States surpassed 25 million cases of COVID-19, with an astounding 418,494 deaths. This means that 17 percent of people in the U.S., or upward of 50 million people, have been infected with the coronavirus, researchers at the University of Washington estimate. They warn the U.S. is likely only identifying about half of the COVID-19 cases.
More about Anthony Fauci, UK variant, coronavirus, vaccination effort, South Africa variant
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