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Fauci declares end of ‘pandemic’ in US

White House Covid-19 adviser Anthony Fauci has said that the “pandemic phase” of the coronavirus outbreak is finally over in the United States, citing a fall in daily infections and hospitalizations, while warning the health crisis is not over yet. 

In an interview with PBS NewsHour on Tuesday, Fauci offered some optimism about the pandemic outlook in the US.

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“We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” he said. “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.”

Nonetheless, Fauci cautioned that “we’re not going to eradicate this virus,” but suggested it may be possible to keep infections at a “very low” level through intermittent vaccinations. He did not clarify how often new the new shots would be needed, however.

“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,” Fauci continued, adding, “pandemic means a widespread, throughout the world, infection that spreads rapidly among people.”

Despite his rosier assessment while speaking with PBS, last month Fauci warned that new coronavirus variants emerging in the United States could force the country back under sweeping restrictions such as lockdowns, arguing that Americans could not simply say “We’re done. We’re going to move on.”

In separate comments to the Associated Press on Wednesday, the Covid adviser said the US is “much, much better off” than it was last year, and despite a surge in cases last winter, “we’ve now decelerated and transitioned into more of a controlled phase.”

Still, he insisted “we can’t take our foot off the pedal,” urging health officials to be on the lookout for “another variant which could lead to another potential surge.”

Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths in the US have each dropped to their lowest level in months, gradually declining since the appearance of the Omicron variant. Around two-thirds of eligible Americans are now vaccinated, and compared to earlier phases of the pandemic, effective treatments are increasingly available, including monoclonal antibodies, convalescent plasma and antiviral therapies.

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