Fauci: US is out of the ‘full-blown explosive pandemic phase’

The United States is “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Wednesday, clarifying remarks he made Tuesday that suggested the COVID-19 pandemic was over.

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“We’re really in a transitional phase, from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity,” Fauci told The Washington Post.

Fauci said on PBS’s “NewsHour” Tuesday that he saw the U.S. “out of the pandemic phase.”

On Wednesday, he clarified the statement saying that while the country could see an increase in coronavirus infections, it is not likely to see a high number of hospitalizations or deaths from COVID-19.

“The world is still in a pandemic. There’s no doubt about that. Don’t anybody get any misinterpretation of that. We are still experiencing a pandemic,” Fauci told the Post.

“There’s the full-blown pandemic dynamic, the way we were months ago, where we were having 900,000 cases a day, tens of thousands of hospitalizations, 3,000 deaths a day,” he said. “The deaths went from 3,000 down to 300.”

Fauci said he believes the country will see the virus transition to endemicity, or a state where the virus is dealt with as you deal with other viruses such as the flu.

“Right now, we’re at a low enough level that I believe that we’re transitioning into endemicity. … We’re not in the full-blown explosive pandemic phase. That does not mean that the pandemic is over,” Fauci said. “A pandemic means widespread infection throughout the world. … In our country we’re transitioning into more of a controlled endemicity.”

Fauci told “NewsHour” that people may have to get vaccinated yearly and “longer” than they might expect in an effort to keep infections as low as possible.

The novel coronavirus has led to nearly 1 million deaths in the United States. More than 81 million Americans have been diagnosed as having the virus.