The United States is now out of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert and chief medical adviser to President Biden.
Fauci cites as evidence the fact that the country no longer has 900,000 new infections daily along with tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. Numbers are far lower in every category than at the pandemic’s peak, though there are still over 300 deaths per day attributed to COVID-19.
In a PBS interview, Fauci was asked how close the country is to being at the end of the pandemic. After calling it “an unanswerable question,” he then answered that we are in fact “out of the pandemic phase.” He went on to caution that there are still outbreaks around the world and the U.S. is “not going to eradicate this virus.”
Fauci added that yearly vaccinations may be necessary for quite a while. A CDC report released Monday finds 58% of Americans have had COVID-19 as of February.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 66% of the U.S. population, or almost 220 million people, are fully vaccinated. Roughly 100 million of that number also have their first booster dose. Fauci acknowledged that, when adding the vaccinated with the infected, there is a degree of residual immunity in the population.
COVID-19 has killed almost 1 million Americans, and Fauci says the best hope going forward is to maintain low levels of transmission along with periodic vaccinations. He notes that sharply reduced testing is blurring the global picture of transmission and sequencing.
Fauci’s recommendations are taking a starkly different tone than other statements made while working in the Trump and Biden administrations. While he recently criticized a federal judge’s striking down the administration’s mask mandate for public transportation, he also says he supports individuals making their own choices concerning risk assessments for coronavirus.
Interestingly, the suit against the lifting of Title 42 restrictions at the southern border calls for, among other specifics, the policy to remain in effect as long as the U.S. pandemic is ongoing. And last October, it was Dr. Fauci who criticized Title 42 as “not the solution to an outbreak.”