Dr. Fauci warns COVID can’t be ‘eradicated’

Dr. Anthony Fauci on COVID goals, media criticism as omicron variant now detected in 5 states

NIAID Director and White House chief medical adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci joined "Cavuto: Coast to Coast" for a wide-ranging interview on Friday, warning that he doesn’t think the COVID-19 virus can be eradicated.

"You can have elimination or you can have eradication," Fauci told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto, "and as I've said so often, I don't think there's a chance you're going to eradicate this."

"So what I'm thinking about is control, namely a level of control that is better than where we are right now," he continued.

New York marked the fifth state to report a case of the omicron variant Friday, just two days after Fauci reported the first confirmed case of the strain in California.


Fauci said the omicron variant has an "under the radar" community spread.

"It's very, very clear the extraordinary benefit of vaccines to protect you against infection, to protect you against severe disease, hospitalization and death," Fauci said. "I would hope that even now, as we enter into this new era of omicron, that people would appreciate why it's so important."

Omicron strain transmissibility, symptom severity and vaccination protection is still being "sorted out," according to Fauci, and scientists and researchers will learn information in "real-time" as cases develop and data is collected.

Dr. Anthony Fauci  (Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Fauci pushed the priority of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus, but said he’s never advocated for vaccine mandates.

"I never liked the idea of forcing the issue, but the only thing that's important is that we know the importance of vaccination," Fauci said.

President Biden’s chief medical adviser also touched on the border crisis and testing migrants for COVID-19, admitting he doesn’t have "an easy answer" on what to do about the issue.

"There is testing that is done," Fauci said. "I'm certain it's not as extensive as we would like to see, but I have to admit, I don't have an easy answer. That's a very difficult problem."

Responding to media criticism over his comments that he "represents science," Fauci stood firm that he can take the heat and is "absolutely not" planning on stepping down.

"I'm not running a popularity contest for myself. I'm a physician, I'm a scientist and I'm a public health person," he said.

"The only thing I care about, Neil, is helping to preserve and protect the health of the American public," he added.


Fauci said he focuses solely on ending the pandemic, which starts with getting people protected. He wants to see coronavirus at a low enough level where "it doesn't interfere with our lives, a lifestyle, our economy, what we do with ourselves, that it's there in the background."

"And when we get enough people protected either from getting infected already, getting vaccinated, getting boosted," he said, "that's where I think we need to be."