Dr Anthony Fauci said the new US administration is also seeking to increase production of coronavirus vaccines.
The leading US infectious disease expert said that, based on recent seven-day averages, the coronavirus infections could be on the verge of plateauing in the United States.
“Well, obviously we are still in a very serious situation,” Dr Anthony Fauci said during a White House press briefing on Thursday. “To have over 400,000 dead is something that is, unfortunately, historic in a very bad sense.
“However, when you look more recently at the seven-day average of cases,” he added, “at the moment it looks like it might actually level off.”
The new sworn-in President of the United States, Joe Biden, has pledged to make accelerating the pace of vaccinations one of his administration’s top priorities.
He aims to deliver 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the first 100 days of his tenure, which Fauci previously said “is absolutely doable.”
During Thursday’s press conference, Fauci said the new administration was also looking to increase production of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as well as candidate Johnson & Johnson, which he said could be presented to US regulators for approval soon. .
About 17.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to date in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), below the number that the administration of former President Donald Trump had hoped for have been donated by the end of 2020.
Fauci added that if 70 to 80 percent of Americans were vaccinated by the end of September, some level of normality could be restored to the country in the following months.
Fauci also said the coronavirus vaccine can be modified to accommodate new mutations in the virus and that while the South African variant is of concern, it does not appear to be in the United States.
“Bottom line: We are paying very close attention to our alternative plans if we ever need to change the vaccine,” he said. “But at the moment, from the reports we have … it looks like the vaccines will still be effective against them.”