CNN: The United States is out of the Covid-19 pandemic phase, said Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser and the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“We are certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci said on PBS’s “NewsHour” on Tuesday.
“Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now. So if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country? We are,” he said.
Cases and hospitalizations are rising in the US
Covid-19 cases in the US have tumbled dramatically over the past couple of months as the Omicron wave receded.
But daily cases are still two times higher than they were for most of last summer.
New cases are ticking back up in most states, and hospitalizations have started to rise over the past week.
Fewer people are dying of Covid-19 now than during most of the pandemic, but with more than 400 deaths a day, the past two months of Covid-19 have been more deadly than most recent flu seasons.
Fauci said that although the coronavirus won’t be eradicated, the level of virus in society could be kept very low if people are intermittently vaccinated, possibly every year.
Currently, local health officials on the ground across the US are still working to get more people fully vaccinated and boosted against Covid-19.
The EU outlines its response to the next phase of the pandemic
According to Fauci, the Covid-19 situation in the United States also doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s happening in the rest of the world.
“Pandemic means a widespread, throughout the world infection that spreads rapidly among people,” Fauci said. “So if you look at the global situation, there is no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing.”
The European Commission said Wednesday that the Covid-19 pandemic is not over and that “vigilance and preparedness remain essential” as it published a set of proposals to help European countries manage the current phase and prepare for the next one.
The commission called on the 27 countries in the European Union “to strengthen their surveillance, healthcare systems, and overall pandemic preparedness” as well as “step up vaccination and boosting” and “continue targeted testing and sequencing” to accurately estimate variant circulation and detect new variants.
European Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said Wednesday that between 60% and 80% of the US population is estimated to have had Covid-19.
“How we prepare today for the next phase will determine the cause of the pandemic in the coming months and years,” she said.
In the US, shifting out of the pandemic is not language that Lori Tremmel Freeman, chief executive officer of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, has heard in conversations within local health departments, she said Wednesday.
But there has been a subtle shift on the ground with local health officials now returning some focus to non-Covid areas such as maternal health, childhood immunizations, tuberculosis and HIV.