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Dr. Fauci explains why COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through Europe right now

A look at why the coronavirus is spreading in Europe right now

SHARE Dr. Fauci explains why COVID-19 is spreading rapidly through Europe right now
Dr. Anthony Fauci on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Shawn Thew, Associated Press

Europe has seen a recent outbreak of new coronavirus cases, raising questions about why COVID-19 is spreading so fast after a brief lull period.

What’s happening: Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House medical adviser on the coronavirus, told CNN that he has spoken to colleagues in Britain about the recent spread.

His colleague attributed the spread to three main factors:

  • The omicron variant’s subvariant BA.2 has become transmissible.
  • Society is opening up more.
  • Waning immunity from the COVID-19 vaccine or infection.

What he said: “Without a doubt, opening up society and having people mingle indoors is clearly something that is a contributor, as well as overall waning immunity, which means we’ve really got to stay heads-up and keep our eye on the pattern here,” Fauci said. “So that’s the reason why we’re watching this very carefully.”


The bigger picture: Countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are seeing an uptick in coronavirus cases right now.

  • Coronavirus experts told The Washington Post that a widespread COVID-19 outbreak in Europe will probably lead to a similar wave of coronavirus cases in the United States.
  • Data from a wastewater network — which monitors for COVID-19 cases in wastewater — recently warned that more than one-third of the network’s sample sites found rising COVID-19 cases in the U.S., per Bloomberg.

What they’re saying: “Why wouldn’t it come here? Are we vaccinated enough? I don’t know,” Kimberly Prather, a professor of atmospheric chemistry and an expert on aerosol transmission at the University of California at San Diego, told The Washington Post.