As the US passes two years since the first laboratory-confirmed case of Covid-19, former US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Tom Frieden admitted to feeling positive about the direction the nation is headed.
“I am more optimistic about the pandemic today than I have been since it was declared a pandemic nearly two years ago,” Frieden told CNN on Wednesday.
Frieden, currently the CEO and president of a global health initiative called Resolve to Save Lives, says the "flash flood" of cases stemming from a surge in the Omicron variant should soon slow down, largely as a result of effective vaccines.
“We don’t know if there will be another wave, but we do know that we’ve got much stronger defenses than we’ve ever had,” Frieden said.
“We’re in much better shape than we’ve ever been. But we do need to hang on for just a few more weeks until the Omicron flood recedes, so we don’t overwhelm the hospitals, which are really stressed out,” Frieden added.
As companies, including Moderna, Pfizer, and BioNTech, continue testing Omicron-specific boosters, Frieden is unconvinced that such measures will be required.
“I don't know if this will ever be approved for Americans, and really, I'm disappointed that a company like Moderna might be doing something like this and trying to adjust their market valuation,” Frieden said.
While scientists work towards the creation and approval of a universal Covid-19 vaccine, Frieden pushed patience.
“Remember, we've been trying to make a universal flu vaccine for several decades, and an HIV vaccine for several decades, a malaria vaccine for several decades. And we're just beginning to see some progress,” Frieden said. “I wouldn't hold your breath for a universal vaccine, but it's certainly a goal worth trying.”