The United States is “out of the pandemic phase,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said in a new interview.
Is the COVID-19 pandemic over?
In a Tuesday interview with PBS’ “Newshour,” Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said the United States is no longer in the pandemic phase of COVID-19.
- “Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths,” he told “Newshour” anchor Judy Woodruff. “We are at a low level right now.”
Fauci’s statement comes a couple of weeks after stating that the United States was in a transition phase, the Deseret News reported.
But even as the U.S. exits the pandemic phase, Fauci reiterated that the global pandemic is still ongoing.
- “The world is still in a pandemic,” he told The Washington Post. “There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that. We are still experiencing a pandemic.”
Will COVID-19 ever go away?
Although the United States is out of the pandemic phase, Fauci told PBS’ “Newshour” he doesn’t believe the disease will ever go away but that vaccinations can help keep it at bay.
- “What we hope to do, I don’t believe — and I have spoken about this widely — we’re not going to eradicate this virus,” he said. “If we can keep that level very low, and intermittently vaccinate people — and I don’t know how often that would have to be.
“That might be every year, that might be longer, in order to keep the level low.”
Are there COVID-19 variants right now?
The “full-blown pandemic phase” is over, Fauci told The Washington Post, but variants continue to emerge, including omicron subvariants BA.2 and BA.2.12.1. The World Health Organization has also said it is monitoring omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5, the Deseret News reported.
These strains are more transmissible than previous strains, but there has not been a surge in hospitalizations, The Washington Post reported.
Fauci’s latest statement on the pandemic came on the same day the White House detailed plans to make COVID-19 oral antiviral pills more accessible to the American public, the Deseret News reported.