It has been evident for some time now that while the omicron variant is more transmissible than earlier COVID variants, it also appears to cause less severe symptoms. But for whatever reason, the Biden administration has been unwilling to admit this. At least until today.

Pressed by ABC News's Jonathan Karl on ABC This Week if he was “comfortable now in saying that omicron is wildly contagious but not as severe a disease,” President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said, “Yes.”

“The data from the U.K., and particularly Scotland and England, two separate studies, really confirmed that. They're seeing less of a severity in the form of manifestations by hospitalizations,” Fauci explained.

But then, Fauci stressed that even though omicron is not as severe as earlier variants, people should not be “complacent.”

“The issue that we don't want to get complacent about, Jon, is that when you have such a high volume of new infections, it might override a real diminution in severity so that if you have many, many, many more people with less level of severity, that might kind of neutralize the positive effect of having less severity when you have so many more people,” Fauci said.

Although there is no evidence that omicron is causing hospitals to be overrun with COVID patients, that seems to be what Fauci is afraid of.

Hopefully, as Paxlovid becomes more available, we’ll never have to hear about what Dr. Fauci is afraid of ever again.