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Dr. Fauci Is Right About One Thing: There Will Be a 5th COVID Wave, and a 6th, and a 7th...

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci was on television again. During his interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday,” he said that the unvaccinated pose a threat to the country’s progress on COVID-19 and may cause a fifth wave of the virus.

“The problem is, as we all know, we still have approximately 66 million people who are eligible to be vaccinated who are not vaccinated. The degree to which we continue to come down in that slope will depend on how well we do about getting more people vaccinated,” Fauci told Wallace. Once again, he failed to mention that millions of Americans have recovered from COVID-19 and provide a powerful brake on virus transmission, according to multiple studies.

Sadly, the news broke this morning that former Secretary of State Colin Powell passed away from complications of COVID-19. He was fully vaccinated. Media stories have also broken about Texas Democrats, Bill Maher, Chris Rock, and others who have tested positive for COVID-19 following vaccinations. Most experts and researchers have conceded that COVID-19 will become one of the seasonal illnesses we deal with each year and become endemic. All available evidence supports the idea we will get another wave of positive tests.

Related: BREAKING: Colin Powell Dies of COVID Complications

In an interview earlier this year, Dr. Michael Mina, a Harvard assistant professor of epidemiology, explained how a process of repeated exposures would lead to a less harmful endemic virus.

I’ve always said that we’re going to age out of this virus. People are going to keep getting exposed. And whether it’s to Delta or to a variant in five months from now, every time you or I or anyone else gets exposed — they’re really building up a decent cushion of immunity with each of those exposures… So it’s only a matter of time before we actually have not only vaccine-derived immunity but natural infection-derived immunity, too.

When you start coupling all that together, you can picture it kind of like a sandwich, just continuing to stack up. Then we can start to say, “okay, now, you know, even if the virus changes a bit, I’ve built up so much protection already. I’ve got all these antibodies that not only recognize the spike proteins from the virus, which is what we see with the vaccines, but I’ve now been exposed three times.”

Luckily, we know that the vast majority of children rarely become seriously ill with COVID-19. However, when kids get exposed in childhood, their immune systems are still building up their defenses. Vaccinated Americans will also be exposed and develop additional defenses, according to Mina’s explanation. This layered immunity will decrease the virulence of the virus.

Seasonal endemic viruses have waves. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is this type of virus. RSV hospitalizes an average of 58,000 children under the age of five and 177,000 over the age of 65 every year. Here is the current CDC monitoring for positive tests for RSV:

Unlike COVID-19, the CDC does not track not all positive tests because not all labs and healthcare facilities contribute to the tracking. The CDC performs surveillance to detect regional and seasonal trends. The agency uses the same process for other endemic viruses. With current vaccination rates nationally and the number of Americans who have recovered, there should be a concrete plan for COVID-19 to move into the group of diseases subject to the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS), rather than reporting daily totals and panic porn.

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Something else Mina said is worth noting.

But the writing’s on the wall. Senior citizens, as they age, don’t have the cells to retain immunological memory very well. Now, if you keep getting vaccinated over five, six years, maybe they can start to build up a much greater cushion of protection. But so far these senior citizens and elderly people in our country and around the world have only been vaccinated twice. Without boosters, I think we should expect that their immune memory will start to wane by the fall.

According to the CDC, 95.7% of Americans over the age of 65 have had at least one dose of vaccine. This age group makes up 16.5% of the population, according to the CDC’s tracking. Yet, only 14.3% have received a booster. One should wonder why this population is not the absolute priority to receive the third dose, especially when you compare the public health situation in those over 65 with the rest of the population, using provisional death data, CDC COVID-19 data, and the CDC’s calculation of disease burden. Americans over 65 account for 76.2% of COVID-19 deaths. It is the only age group where the share of COVID-19 deaths is more significant than their share of non-COVID-19 deaths.

We know there will be another wave. Mina asserts that COVID-19 breakthrough infections were being significantly underestimated based on his own clinical experience. Vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are capable of becoming ill and transmitting the virus, no matter what Fauci says. The vaccine still seems to prevent severe illness and death in many cases. But the elderly may experience more instances of severe disease from COVID-19, even with the vaccination, according to Mina’s assessment. This would be consistent with the experience throughout the pandemic at this point.

A serious public health response going into the fall and winter—when people go indoors, where we know the virus spreads efficiently— has three prongs. First, Fauci should stop fretting about any portion of the population getting vaccinated other than COVID-19 naive Americans over 65. Stop worrying about children under 12 and start a public health push to boost Americans over 65. Second, the administration should be flooding the nation with monoclonal antibodies and approve emergency use of Merck’s outpatient medication. Finally, the NIH needs to issue guidelines for existing drugs that treat lung inflammation and clotting to be used before a patient requires hospitalization. That these recommendations do not already exist is approaching malpractice.

If these things do not get done, no one involved, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, can claim to be following the data or the science. Locking down 83.5% of the population due to severe risk to the other 16.5% is absurd.