Fauci: Omicron Likely to Cause Record Number of Cases, Deaths in US

Fauci: Omicron Likely to Cause Record Number of Cases, Deaths in US Fauci: Omicron Likely to Cause Record Number of Cases, Deaths in US Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the Chief Medical Advisor to the President. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty)

By Brian Freeman | Sunday, 19 December 2021 04:50 PM

The omicron variant will likely cause record numbers of cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the U.S., Anthony Fauci told CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday.

"We are going to see a significant stress in some regions of the country on the hospital system, particularly in those areas where you have a low level of vaccination, which is one of the reasons why we continue to stress the importance of getting those unvaccinated people vaccinated," Fauci told host Jake Tapper.

"This virus is extraordinary. It has a doubling time of anywhere between two and three days," he added.

"We are going to be in for some serious difficulties right now and we better be doing more to mitigate against that. And it’s never too late to get vaccinated. And if you’re vaccinated, go get boosted and be prudent in everything else you do."

Fauci stressed that the situation "is going to be tough. We can't walk away from that, Jake. We can't, because, with Omicron that we're dealing with, it is going to be a tough few weeks to months as we get deeper into the winter."

President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser added that although experts "definitely saw variants coming… what was not anticipated was the extent of the mutations and the amino acid substitutions in Omicron, which is really unprecedented. It kind of came out of nowhere, where you have a virus that has 50 mutations, 30 of which are in the spike protein, and 10 or 12 of which are in the receptor binding domain. I mean, to me, that's really quite unprecedented."

In addition to getting more people vaccinated and everyone being careful by wearing masks and taking other preventative measures, Fauci said that there is also a "need to flood the system with testing. We need to have tests available for anyone who wants them" so that people can know they have coronavirus before they go out in a public setting or have guests over to their homes.