Fauci: With any luck, there are only seven or eight more months of rampant COVID spread to go

Remember when he told us we were in the sixth inning of the pandemic? That was May 4.

Although … maybe that estimate was right? We were 14 months into it at that point. Now he’s projecting that we might have things under control in another seven or so. That would shake out to the sixth inning of a baseball game.

Maybe Fauci does know what he’s talking about.

Or maybe not. This exchange with Anderson Cooper begins with him having to issue a correction to a sloppy error he made earlier in the day.

Hot vax summer: Postponed in 2021, rescheduled for 2022. Tentatively.

The clip above cuts off right before Cooper asks him what share of the public he thinks we’ll need to vaccinate before we can expect to have COVID under control. Watch the full interview and you’ll see that Fauci won’t hazard a guess about that anymore. Even if he were willing, why would we rely on his estimate? He’s admitted previously to lying when asked about that subject.

Besides, in light of how Delta has scrambled scientists’ expectations for the course of the pandemic, an even more contagious variant might pop up this winter and flip over the chessboard again.

“Delta came along, and it’s almost like we have a new pandemic now,” Francis Collins, head of the National Institutes of Health, told The Health 202. “Everything we thought we knew about covid-19 has to be revised.”

“I think we’re in a world of trouble for at least the next couple of months, but exactly what the shape of that trouble looks like, I can’t tell you,” he added…

“We’re just hoping it starts to turn, but no one is holding their breath here,” a senior Biden official said…

“Everything tells us that the only way that you get a surge down is to mitigate,” the senior Biden official said. “The states and local governments that are hit the hardest are not doing a lot of mitigation these days.”

It does seem to be turning at last in the hard-hit southeast…

…but only at a steep cost:

What Fauci’s really telling us with his spring 2022 timeline is he expects that convincing the remaining unvaccinated to get their shots will be a long, frustrating grind and that there’ll be much sickness and death to come before we’ve finally seen our last major wave. He’s wrong about a lot of things but he’s not wrong about that.

His claim that we have another half a year of misery or more to come before durable normalcy returns wasn’t his only questionable soundbite yesterday. People are scratching their heads over this one:

Scott Gottlieb has made the point repeatedly that it’s worth investing in a higher quality mask like an N95 due to the extreme transmissibility of Delta. A Canadian study published a few days ago bolstered that conclusion, finding that an N95 can filter out 60 percent of aerosols while a surgical or cloth mask will only filter 10-12 percent. Even so, Fauci seems completely indifferent to mask quality. Is this another “noble lie” he’s telling to make sure there isn’t a run on N95s by the public that’ll create a shortage for medical professionals? Why not seize the opportunity in his TV interviews to encourage people to be more careful about mask quality?

And when exactly does he anticipate relaxing his guidance for everyone to mask up again? “I don’t know what Fauci’s endgame is,” said writer James Surowiecki after watching the clip above. “Breakthrough infections will always be with us, even if everyone’s vaxxed. And the CDC’s threshold for ‘substantial’ transmission is so low that, as he says, it now ropes in highly-vaxxed, low positive-rate parts of the U.S. So: mask forever?”

Some scientists abroad do indeed seem to be shifting to a “mask forever” approach:

I can’t tell if Aussie experts are more risk-averse than Fauci or simply operate in a culture that’s more willing to indulge them their sincere preferences.

I’ll leave you with this analysis of how his timeline for the pandemic, if true, is potentially a political disaster for Biden. The president had his “Mission Accomplished” moment on July 4, declaring independence from the virus, whereupon the country was immediately smacked in the face with a 2×4 by Delta. Biden surely didn’t anticipate having to manage major waves of the pandemic a year into his presidency but that’s where we’re headed. On the other hand, since voters have the attention span of a goldfish, having the pandemic ease just months before the midterms might inadvertently benefit Biden more than if the spread had slowed this summer, which would have rendered the pandemic a non-issue by next November.