This week, Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed optimism about the pandemic’s state in the United States.
“We are certainly out of the pandemic phase in this country right now,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Tuesday on “PBS NewsHour.”
Fauci also stated on Wednesday that the pandemic in the United States has reached the “control” stage, as the coronavirus is causing far fewer hospitalizations and deaths than during the omicron variant’s winter surge. However, he later told NPR that he believes the United States has passed through the “acute component of the pandemic phase.”
“We’re now transitioning — not quite there yet, but getting there — to more of an endemicity, where the level of infection is low enough that people are learning to live with the virus while still being protected by vaccination, antivirals, and testing,” Fauci said.
Fauci has previously described the pandemic in five stages. The first, a full-fledged pandemic, was the focus of the United States for the past two years. The second is deceleration, and the third is control, which means the virus is spreading throughout the population.
After that, elimination and eradication would follow, though Fauci told PBS that the virus would probably never be eradicated. President Joe Biden’s top Covid adviser, Anthony Fauci, told The Washington Post that entering a new phase doesn’t mean the pandemic is over.
“The world remains in the grip of a pandemic. That is without a doubt the case. That should not be misconstrued in any way. We are still in the midst of a pandemic,” he stated.
Because of his own Covid risk, Fauci, 81, decided not to attend the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this weekend.
According to NBC News’ tally, the United States is recording around 51,000 Covid cases and just under 400 deaths per day on average. However, the case average has risen by 49% in the last two weeks, despite the fact that infections are undercounted due to the widespread use of at-home tests. Many people in the United States, however, have some form of immunity that should protect them from severe disease, according to Fauci.
“If you add up the people who have been infected plus the people who have been vaccinated and hopefully boosted,” he told PBS, “You have a fairly substantial proportion of the US population that has some residual immunity.”
Based on tens of thousands of blood samples, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Monday that 58 percent of Americans had evidence of previous coronavirus infections as of February. According to the CDC, 66% of the country has been fully vaccinated, and 46% of the population has received booster shots.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, there are around 674,000 average Covid cases per day worldwide, though cases have decreased by 35% in the last two weeks. Last week, the World Health Organization reported the lowest weekly global death total since March 2020, with just over 15,000 deaths worldwide.
In a press conference on Monday, WHO officials said that many more Covid deaths could be avoided. According to the Our World in Data project of the Global Change Data Lab, affiliated with the University of Oxford, around 40% of the world’s population has not been fully vaccinated.
The threat of new, dangerous variants remains, according to WHO leaders. They added that insufficient testing and surveillance could make it difficult to detect new variants.
“As many countries reduce testing, WHO is receiving less and less information about transmission and sequencing,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. “This makes us increasingly blind to patterns of transmission and evolution, but this virus won’t go away just because countries stopped looking for it. It’s still spreading, it’s still changing, and it’s still killing. The threat of a dangerous new variant remains very real.”