Dr. Anthony Fauci said the US is “out of the pandemic phase” with COVID-19.
US COVID-19 cases are up, but hospitalizations remain low, and deaths are dropping.
Still, “there’s no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing” around the world, Fauci said.
The United States is “out of the pandemic phase” with COVID-19, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said on Tuesday.
Fauci, who directs the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cited the current “low level” of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths nationwide as his reasoning for the bold statement, arguing that the country is out of crisis mode with the coronavirus, at least for now.
“We are certainly — right now in this country — out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci said during an interview on PBS NewsHour, when asked by anchor Judy Woodruff how close we are to the end of the pandemic.
However, Fauci maintained that “if you look at the global situation, there’s no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing.”
But, in the US, “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 said.
The European Commission, similarly, released a statement on Wednesday saying the EU is “transitioning out of the acute COVID-19 phase.”
COVID-19 cases in the US (now all attributable to the hyper-infectious Omicron variant) continue to rise — up more than 22% in the last week according to CDC data — but Fauci noted that “we’re not going to eradicate this virus” and that people will have to be routinely vaccinated to keep the rates of severe illness and death low.
“I don’t know how often that would have to be,” Fauci said of vaccination. “That might be every year, that might be longer, in order to keep that level low.”
Independent disease pros agree it’s not clear yet exactly when we might need more shots, because the ones we have are still very effective at preventing severe disease and death.
“For most of the population, what we have right now — a primary series and one booster dose, appears to be protective,” Dr. Beth Bell, a leading infectious disease expert and professor at the University of Washington, told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at a public meeting last week.
Other public health experts, both within the Biden Administration, and independent of it, agree that getting rid of COVID-19 entirely is neither feasible, nor paramount.
“We have a very, very contagious variant out there,” White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said on Tuesday during a briefing. “It is going to be hard to ensure that no one gets COVID in America. That’s not even a policy goal. The goal of our policies should be, obviously, minimize infections whenever possible, but to make sure people don’t get seriously ill. .”
The nation’s supply of antiviral drugs against COVID-19 (like Paxlovid) is improving, and there is also a prophylactic called Evusheld, which immunocompromised patients can take, if they don’t respond well to vaccines.
Read the original article on Business Insider