"I can’t tell you what endemic disease means with COVID. The question I ask is what happens if we go through an entire quiet period of the summer and then in fall see a major new surge in cases. Do we go back to the pandemic, or is it still endemic?”
"What we did is we got bogged down into masking or non-masking. The vast majority of people who were using a mask were highly ineffective in terms of preventing transmission to or from that individual. Today we need to put much more effort into devising much more effective respiratory protection and comfort that people are aware of and that it is not politically charged."
"What we don't understand is will this virus come back again, but it's a different virus in a sense so that immunity we have from vaccinations, the immunity we have from natural infection, would not be all that protective? And we just don't know that answer. I sleep with one eye open looking for variants."
"I think when historians go back and look at what was said and done during this pandemic, one of the absolute lowest moments from a scientific perspective and a public policy practice will be what we did with ‘masks.' What we did with masks was not based on good science."
"This is exactly the worst of the worst conditions [in Ukraine]. When you overlay war on these public health challenges. I mean, people are going to be needing clear medical treatment for war-related injuries. But when that falls on top of what is already health care system stress because of 25,000 new cases yesterday of COVID, just think how much more complicated this gets."
"COVID may appear to go quiet in our communities [in the next few months], but it will still be there, we’ll still have people hospitalized, we’ll still have people die—but it will be at a level that will be substantially lower than we’ve seen."
"I do worry that down the road, we could see another variant like Omicron come out of the middle of nowhere, and that surely is a possibility. I hope it doesn't happen, but as I've said many times, 'Hope is not a strategy.' So we've got to be prepared for one down the road, and I think right now, people don't even want to hear about that."
"I think until you actually determine how to get people to wear N95 respirators—these more tight face-fitting masks—or the KN95s, I don’t understand the benefit of masking as a mandate, nor have I from the beginning. If we could do it with much more effective protection, then we’d have a leg to stand on."
“[Any new federal strategy] has to acknowledge that we are entering a new phase of virus transmission in our communities, being forever mindful that we were in exactly the same place one year ago today, where cases were decreasing from a January peak, vaccines were flowing. And look what that got us.”
"The trillion-dollar question is: Can they [China's Olympics planners] beat Omicron? At least, in theory, they've laid out a plan that won't stop COVID from beginning in the Games, but it could and should greatly limit transmission. Then again, we're up against Omicron, and I'm not sure how effective anybody could be against that virus."
"We’re going to have to learn to live with this virus. But at the same time, I’m optimistic that if we can really put in place very aggressive and well-described systems for testing and drug deployment, we can surely do a lot to reduce serious illness."
"I don't buy herd immunity. Immunity is not durable with this virus. You look at all the people who've been reinfected with Omicron, who previously had Delta and who had even Alpha earlier in the year. Look at even the vaccine breakthroughs we've seen in terms of those who have been vaccinated."
"I think that this is an exciting time coming up. It’s our opportunity. If we miss it, people will die unnecessarily, and we will continue to deal with the social, economic, and political fallout of this disease. If we do it right, we can do so much to bring this horrible virus under better control."
“We are having a terrible time turning vaccines into vaccinations ... We're seeing major increases in cases presenting to hospitals in young kids, so we need to keep emphasizing the importance of getting these vaccines. ... Please, get your kids vaccinated."
"The question is how long will [COVID vaccine booster] protection last, we’re not sure. At this point, we will continue to do studies monitoring people to see both when their antibody levels drop, but also more importantly in the community, when do we see potential breakthrough infections occurring. At what stage following your immunization and your previous infectious status does that happen?”
"I think in 3 to 4 weeks, we're gonna see case numbers begin to level off, if not start to drop precipitously. People, hold out, please. This is not going to be months and months; this wave is going to be in the weeks ahead."
"We have seen far too many people who are clinically ill who are in their third and fourth day of negative antigen tests but test positive by PCR. "That's A plus B equals C: A, a shortage of tests; B, they may not be that accurate; C, mass confusion."