Health expert: Omicron changes game, surge in Covid cases should no longer be ‘major metric’ of pandemic

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A top health expert says that the mostly more mild COVID-19 symptoms experienced by vaccinated people prove that the shots are the best way to be protected from getting very sick or dying from the virus, adding that a rise in case numbers ought not to be the sole metric used to gauge the pandemic.

“For two years, infections always proceeded hospitalizations which proceeded deaths, so you could look at infections and know what was coming,” said Ashish K. Jha, current dean of Brown University and a one-time health expert at Harvard during a Sunday appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”

“Omicron changes that. This is the shift we’ve been waiting for in many ways,” Jha added, in reference to the newest strain of the virus.

The country has moved to a spot where vaccinated people, and especially those who have since gotten a booster, “are gonna bounce back” if they catch the coronavirus.

“That’s very different than what we have seen in the past,” he noted. “So I no longer think infections, generally, should be the major metric.”

Thanks to the new omicron variant, coronavirus cases have spiked around the U.S. to levels that haven’t been seen since the pandemic began, to include breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated and boosted Americans.

The health expert noted further that while it is still important for officials to keep track of infections among those individuals who have not yet been vaccinated because they “will end up in the hospital,” he added: “But we really need to focus on hospitalizations and deaths right now.”

Also Sunday, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy voiced optimism that the U.S. is in a better place now to beat back the pandemic than when it first began due to enhanced testing and the presence of vaccines and other therapeutics.

Earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, praised former President Donald Trump for the vaccines and pushed back on a crowd who booed him and event co-host Bill O’Reilly for saying they were vaccinated and boosted.

During an interview with CNN’s John Berman of “New Day,” the host played Fauci a clip of an event Trump and O’Reilly held in Florida in which both said they had gotten the jabs.

“Both the president and I are vaxxed, and you get the booster?” O’Reilly asked while both were talking on stage, to which Trump replied “Yes” and O’Reilly added, “I got it too.”

“Don’t!” Trump then responded to some audience members who booed them before saying, “It’s a very tiny group of them.”

“What’s your reaction to hearing that, what kind of a difference does it make now, what kind of a difference would it have made if he’d been out there preaching the benefits of the booster all along?” Berman asked Fauci.

“Well, I would have liked any public persons, particularly former President Trump, who has a large number of followings to have benefited from what he said,” Fauci replied before turning his attention to the crowd.

“But you noted, John, in the background, they were booing him, which just doesn’t make any sense at all, to boo someone who’s saying they did the right thing,” Fauci said.

“From a public health standpoint, I’m very pleased that he did say that and come out publicly and say that he has been vaccinated and boosted. But to get booed for saying that just tells you about the extraordinary divisiveness we have going into this public health issue, which should be devoid of divisiveness.

“It should just be focusing on what the public health principles are,” Fauci added.


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