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New COVID-19 Variant Could Lead to More Lockdowns, Fauci Warns

A new strain of the virus may increase case numbers of COVID-19 in the United States, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases this week.

Fauci, who advises president Biden, said the BA.2 subvariant could soon cause an increase in infections in America.

At the height of the pandemic, he argued that Americans should be able to “pivot” between a more common way of life and the measures that had been taken to manage the spread of the disease, Yahoo reported.

“If we do see a turnaround and a resurgence, we have to be able to pivot and go back to any degree of mitigation that is commensurate with what the situation is,” Fauci said in an interview with CNN.

“We can’t just say, ‘We’re done. We’re going to move on.’ We’ve got to be able to be flexible because we’re dealing with a dynamic situation,” he said, noting that the new variant has fewer fatalities than Omicron.

“The overall mortality is actually down. It’s a very interesting situation where the cases are going up, but it does not, at this point in time, appear to be any degree of severity.”

Fauci said he “would not be surprised in the next few weeks, given the fact that we’ve begun to open up, and we have an increase in the BA.2 variant, that we’ll be seeing an increase in cases.”

Fauci dismissed concerns about the crippling economic burdens associated with lockdowns during the segment.

A Johns Hopkins University meta-analysis of several studies found that lockdowns during the first COVID-19 wave in the spring of 2020 only reduced mortality by .2% in the U.S. and Europe.

“While this meta-analysis concludes that lockdowns have had little to no public health effects, they have imposed enormous economic and social costs where they have been adopted,” the researchers wrote.

“In consequence, lockdown policies are ill-founded and should be rejected as a pandemic policy instrument.”

A study by the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice last year showed that domestic violence incidents rose 8.1% in the U.S. after lockdown orders were issued.

The impact of lockdown measures has also been the subject of additional medical concerns.

It was noted in the New England Journal of Medicine that quarantine affected people psychologically, causing stress, depression, irritability, restlessness, fear, confusion, frustration, anger, boredom, and stigma, some of which persisted after the quarantine lifted.

In the past day, 52,884 new cases of Coronavirus were reported in the U.S., as well as 1,685 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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