“We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a televised interview April 26.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert made the statement on PBS’ NewsHour in response to host Judy Woodruff’s question on how close the U.S. is to moving out of COVID-19’s pandemic stage.
“We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Dr. Fauci responded. “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. What we hope to do, I don’t believe — and I have spoken about this widely — we’re not going to eradicate this virus. If we can keep that level very low, and intermittently vaccinate people — and I don’t know how often that would have to be, Judy.
“That might be every year, that might be longer, in order to keep that level low. But, right now, we are not in the pandemic phase in this country. Pandemic means a widespread, throughout the world, infection that spreads rapidly among people.”
Dr. Fauci’s remarks coincided with those from Ashish Jha, MD, the White House’s COVID-19 response coordinator, on April 26. In his first appearance at a White House news briefing since he assumed the role, Dr. Jha said the relatively low number of new deaths — around 300 a day — was “still too high,” but noted hospitalizations are at their lowest point in the pandemic. Those figures amid rising COVID-19 case counts suggested a promising turning point, he said.
Dr. Jha also said that ensuring no one in America gets COVID-19 is not the goal.
“That’s not even a policy goal,” he said. “The goal of our policy should be: obviously minimize infections whenever possible, but to make sure people don’t get seriously ill.”