Chief White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci said that he believes people will have to accept that they will have to start "living with COVID," noting that the virus may never be eradicated.
During an interview with Host Margaret on CBS's "Face the Nation" that aired Sunday Fauci spoke about comments he made in the past, when he said he would like daily coronavirus cases to fall below 10,000 before the U.S. will be able to "live with COVID."
Brennan pointed out that current COVID-19 infection rates are now nearing 80,000 per day, a level Fauci said was "unacceptable."
"We've heard people say, understandably, they're trying to look for a metric to give to the public that we're going to have to start living with COVID," Fauci said. "I believe that's the case because I don't think we're going to eradicate it. We've only eradicated one infection of mankind, and that's smallpox ... The best way you can get to where you want to go is to just say 'we're going to vaccinate as many people as we can, we're going to get as many people boosted as we can and we're going to get that level down.' And I think that's going to have to be as low as 10,000."
Fauci said illnesses such as malaria, polio and measles have become largely nonexistent thanks to "a very, very, very intensive vaccine campaign."
He added that unvaccinated Americans and those whose immunity from their initial doses is beginning to wane have resulted in a reduced level of community immunity.
The top infectious disease expert was also asked if he believed the U.S. was currently experiencing a fifth wave of coronavirus cases.
"Well, we certainly have the potential to go into a fifth wave," Fauci said. "And the fifth wave, or the magnitude of any increase, if you want to call it that it will turn into a wave, will really be dependent upon what we do in the next few weeks to a couple of months."
This comes after the World Health Organization announced Friday that there is a new coronavirus "variant of concern," known as "omicron," prompting the Biden administration to restrict travel from South Africa and seven other countries beginning Monday over concerns of a "heavily mutated" COVID-19 variant.