Fauci warns of increase in COVID-19 cases with new variant, but not hospitalizations

"I would not be surprised if in the next few weeks we see somewhat of either a flattening of our diminution or maybe even an increase," Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

Updated: March 18, 2022 - 4:38pm

Dr. Anthony Fauci is warning that COVID-19 cases may increase with the new variant but that there might not be a surge in hospitalizations.

"I would not be surprised if in the next few weeks we see somewhat of either a flattening of our diminution or maybe even an increase," Fauci told ABC News' podcast "Start Here."

He said the virus' BA.2 variant will likely become the dominant variant, although there are still many unknowns.

"Whether or not that is going to lead to another surge, a mini surge or maybe even a moderate surge, is very unclear because there are a lot of other things that are going on right now," Fauci said.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director said that based on information from colleagues in the U.K., the new variant is not causing severe disease.

"Their intensive care bed usage is not going up, which means they're not seeing a blip up of severe disease," he said.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have been decreasing over the past month or two. The new BA.2 variant now makes up 23% of all COVID cases in the U.S.

The U.S. and other countries have been dropping COVID restrictions in recent weeks, such as mask and vaccine mandates.