US scientist Anthony Fauci has said that despite mounting COVID-19 cases and more such patients crowding hospitals, the country is approaching the level of living with it as a manageable disease.
Speaking to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the top US scientist said eliminating COVID was unrealistic and that "Omicron, with its extraordinary, unprecedented degree of efficiency of transmissibility, will ultimately find just about everybody."
"There's no way we're going to eradicate this" virus, he said, given its contagiousness, its propensity to mutate into new Covid variants and the large pool of unvaccinated people, AFP News reported.
Those up to date with their vaccines remain well protected against severe outcomes, but vaccine efficacy against infection has fallen.
But "as Omicron goes up and down," the country will hopefully enter a new phase "where there'll be enough protection in (the) community, enough drugs available so that when someone does get infected and is in a high risk group, it will be very easy to treat that person," said Fauci.
"When we get there, there's that transition, and we may be on the threshold of that right now," he said, while also stressing that with the country currently recording almost a million infections a day, nearly 150,000 people in hospital and more than 1,200 daily deaths, "we're not at that point."
Official data showed there are currently 145,982 COVID-19 hospitalisations, even though a significant per cent are thought to be hospitalised "with" the disease rather than because of it.
Earlier, the 81-year-old director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases slammed vaccine skeptic Republican Senator Rand Paul for unleashing "crazies" who were threatening his life and harassing his family, in unusually emotional congressional testimony.
President Joe Biden's top officials, including his chief medical advisor Fauci, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walenksy and acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Janet Woodcock were summoned to testify before the Senate about the pandemic.