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America’s top infectious disease expert has joined a chorus of public health experts warning that the pandemic is far from over.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told radio station 3AW earlier this afternoon that the rise in the number of COVID -19 kept him awake at night.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Credit:Bloomberg

“We’re three years into this outbreak – two years and seven months – and we still have 100,000 cases a day in the United States and 300 deaths,” he said.

“I think a lot of the world’s population wants to have COVID behind them so badly that they act like we’re done with the virus, but the virus doesn’t seem to be completely done with us.”

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Fauci, who has emerged as the face of the pandemic response around the world, has backed calls to expand the rollout of fourth doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to young Australians.

“The more you get vaccinated – boost one, boost twice – the risk of hospitalization and death drops significantly,” he said.

“So the data is clearly in favor of a first nudge followed by a second nudge.”

He said Australia had used its geographic isolation as an advantage to manage outbreaks and was among the countries that had weathered the pandemic the best, but warned that lockdowns ‘for lockdowns’ sake’ were not a good strategy.

“If you lock yourself down temporarily so you can get people vaccinated, you can get medicine into the country so that when people are infected you can treat them…a temporary lockdown could be helpful,” he said.

“But outright lockdown without any other mitigation methodology used is really more of a difficulty than anything else.”

Fauci will deliver a speech at the Australian Medical Association’s national conference in Sydney later this month.

Abdul J. Gaspar