U.S. no longer in ‘full-blown’ pandemic phase, Fauci says

Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (Greg Nash/The Hill/Bloomberg News)
[washingtonpost.com – 2022.04.27] The United States is finally “out of the full-blown explosive pandemic phase” that has led to nearly 1 million deaths from covid-19 and more than two years of suffering and hardship, Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Wednesday.

“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’s comments came a day after he told PBS’s “NewsHour” that he believed the country is “out of the pandemic phase,” and he expanded on, and clarified, that view Wednesday, making clear that the pandemic is not over and the United States could still see an increase in coronavirus infections. But the virus is no longer causing the level of hospitalization and death seen in this country in previous waves of infection.

“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 said.

He said the United States was in the “full-blown pandemic phase” in the winter, then entered a period he refers to as the “deceleration” phase. The country is transitioning, he said, to the control phase. That’s where he expects the health emergency to settle down, with the virus still circulating but not causing devastating new waves of hospitalization and death.

“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, three thousand deaths a day,” he said. “The deaths went from 3,000 down to 300.”

“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.”

The coronavirus will not be eradicated, Fauci told PBS, but can be handled if its level of spread is kept “very low” and people are “intermittently” vaccinated, though he said he did not know how frequently that would have to happen. And he echoed warnings from the World Health Organization and the United Nations this month that worldwide, the pandemic is far from over as vaccination rates remain too low, particularly in developing nations.

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