Biden officials fear Covid spike in Europe, could lead to a return of masks

Over the past two years, the US has experienced similar Covid waves to Europe – just a few weeks later.

“You have to at least be prepared that we might see something similar here with some differences, because there are always differences,” said Anthony Fauci, medical director for President Joe Biden. “We must not ignore it. We have to monitor it very carefully. “

In recent days, officials from the White House Covid-19 task force and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have met to figure out how the administration would respond if cases began to increase. serious, according to officials. The group discussed the possibility of recommending that the community re-insert masks in their homes and how to ensure hospitals across the country are prepared for the potential influx of care-seeking patients. Officials have also debated whether to recommend a fourth Covid-19 scan.

Pfizer on Tuesday asked the Food and Drug Administration for an emergency approval for a fourth dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for people 65 and older amid concerns about weakened immunity. .

Administration officials have grown increasingly concerned as more than $15 billion in Covid-19 funding has stalled in Congress, despite White House officials warning that they could soon run out of money to buy life-saving drugs or provide free treatments to patients.

Such a shortfall could affect efforts both nationally and internationally. could also impede the distribution of tests and masks just as cases started to spike in the US

“People with disease, losing monoclonal antibodies, that trial plan…. a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research,” said Eric Topol. “Nobody wants these waves. But we have to face the music and the music is not pretty.”

In a call with public health leaders and prominent doctors this week, the administration warned of what could be lost if congressional funding fails to pass. Some on the call worried that recent guidance from the CDC, which said the majority of Americans could remove their masks, undermined the administration’s efforts to convince Congress and the public that Covid -19 remains a threat.

Those people prompted regulatory officials on the call to consider changing its message, especially with the spread of BA.2.

The White House did not comment for this story, and referred reporters to spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s comment earlier this week on the prospect that BA.2 could continue to spread domestically, causing an increase in the number of cases.

In anticipation, Biden officials have been reaching out to health leaders in Europe in recent days, asking about how far the sub-transformer is spreading and how hospitals are handling the influx of patients. gathering such a wave could impact Americans, according to two of the officials familiar with the discussions.

British authorities believe the increase in the UK is due to a range of factors, including reduced immunity to vaccinated individuals, the possibility of transmission of Omicrons and minor modifiers, and the loosening of restrictions. public health restrictions such as the requirement for indoor masks, two officials said. Many of those elements are present in the US

“All of this is also happening while immunity is waning. … Also communities and populations [in Europe] opened. They’ve relaxed many of their mitigation strategies — as have we,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday during a panel discussion with the bipartisan Center for Policy.

While cases are also skyrocketing in China, the country’s reliance on a vaccine and zero-Covid policy means that cases there may not provide the same clues as what might otherwise be. happen here. American officials also have more insight into what is going on in Europe. Over the past two years, American officials have relied heavily on European data sharing and scientific analysis to help fuel the American response while communication with China has been more limited.

Kristen Nordlund, a CDC spokesperson, said that although the BA.2 subvariant has increased in the US over the past few weeks, it is not the predominant variant and the administration is not currently seeing an increase in levels. disease severity in the country.

Walensky said during Thursday’s panel discussion that she predicts that the United States “will have more and more” [BA.2]. ”

“It could become the main variation in the next few weeks,” she said.

If a Covid-19 wave similar to the one currently moving through Europe hits the US in the next few months, it’s possible that the CDC will again recommend that Americans wear masks indoors where community transmission is high. Fauci said.

“The transmissibility of this virus is really profound. The question is, how much would be a blip in the case? Are the cases going to turn into a significant amount of illness and then into hospitalization,” Fauci said. “As the CDC said when introducing the new measures, any change in the pattern must be met with a rollback of whatever appropriate mitigation measures are needed. I think people have forgotten that.” Biden officials fear Covid spike in Europe, could lead to a return of masks

Fry Electronics Team

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