Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, is concerned about current case increases in Europe, which usually predict a rise in the U.S. a short time later.
“We’re still, as a country, going in the right direction with regard to the downward trajectory of cases, hospitalizations and deaths,” the infectious disease expert said on “PBS NewsHour” Thursday. (See the full interview in the video above.)
But the “caveat about that is that we generally follow the European Union, but particularly the U.K., by ... usually three or so weeks” — and cases are currently on the uptick there, he noted.
Relaxed COVID-19 restrictions in the U.K., combined with the increased transmissibility of the new BA.2 subvariant of the original omicron variant, are now pushing up the number of cases, Fauci warned.
“I would not be surprised ... if in the next few weeks we do see an uptick in cases” in the U.S., he added.
But the “really important issue” is if that will trigger a hike in severe disease that would lead to more hospitalizations and deaths, said Fauci.
“We will have to ... wait and see,” he added, noting that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is prepared to “pivot back” to old COVID-19 restrictions in the event of a surge.
“But that is really unpredictable right now,” he added.