Dr. Anthony Fauci has admitted making his latest mistake in coronavirus guidance, this time over when he thinks the pandemic will come “under control” — apologizing by saying, “My bad.”
The White House coronavirus czar had told NPR on Monday that if enough people get vaccinated the US could “really get some good control over this” by the fall or winter of next year.
But quizzed on it by CNN’s Anderson Cooper later the same day, Fauci — who has been under fire repeatedly for flip-flopping on his public advice from the early days of the pandemic — said he actually thinks that control will come even sooner.
“Anderson, I have to apologize. When I listened to the tape, I meant to say the spring of 2022, so I did misspeak,” he said.
He insisted that if “the overwhelming majority of the 90 million people who have not been vaccinated” now get the shot “I hope we can get some good control in the spring of 2022.”
“I didn’t mean the fall — I misspoke. My bad,” he said.
Asked to clarify what he meant by control, he said it was “getting back to a degree of normality,” such as “restaurants, theaters, that kind of thing.”
“But again, there’s a big caveat there — this is a very wily virus,” he told the CNN host, warning that the timeline could easily change again even if everyone follows his advice.
“We thought we were going to have that degree of freedom as we got into the fourth of July and the summer. And then along comes a sucker punch with the Delta variant which is extraordinary in its ability to spread from person to person,” he said.
“So we hope we’ll be there at the time frame I mentioned, correctly being the spring of 2022, but there’s no guarantee because it’s up to us,” he said.
“If we keep lingering without getting those people vaccinated that should be vaccinated, this thing could linger on, leading to the development of another variant which could complicate things.”
Fauci advised even those who have antibodies from a previous infection to get vaccinated because it gives “an enormous increase in the degree of protection.”
He also said “the time has come” for businesses as well as colleges and the military to “mandate” vaccines.
“I think that’s a good thing,” he said.
“I respect people’s freedom, but when you’re talking about a public health crisis that we’ve been going through now for well over a year and a half, the time has come.
“Enough is enough. We just got to get people vaccinated,” he insisted.
However, asked what percentage of the population would need to get the shot to meet his expected outcome, he gave a far from scientific answer.
“In all transparency and honesty, we don’t know that,” he said.
“The [percentage] could be 90, it could be 85 — we don’t know what it is.
“Just get as many people vaccinated as you possibly can, and when you get control, that’ll be the number,” he said.
When the pandemic first started spreading across the US, Fauci initially said masks were unnecessary — before leading the push to get everyone to wear them.
He also just months ago said booster shots were not needed before they became offered recently, and also was among those who dismissed the contagion leaking from a Chinese lab, before conceding it is a possibility.
However, he has insisted several times that anyone attacking his messaging is actually attacking science, insisting the information is constantly evolving.