“We are certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase,” Fauci said on PBS NewsHour Tuesday.
“Specifically, we don’t have 900,000 new infections per day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We’re at a low level now. So, if you’re saying we’re out of the epidemic stage in this country? we”.
Covid-19 cases in the United States have fallen dramatically over the past two months as the wave of Omicron has receded.
But daily cases are still twice as high as they were for most of last summer.
New cases are back on the rise in most states, and hospitalizations have been on the rise over the past week as well.
Fewer people are dying from Covid-19 now than most of the pandemic, but with more than 400 deaths a day, the past two months of Covid-19 have been more deadly than recent flu seasons.
Fauci said that although the coronavirus will not be eradicated, the level of the virus in the community could remain very low if people are vaccinated intermittently, possibly every year.
For now, local health officials on the ground across the United States are still working to fully vaccinate and boost more people against Covid-19.
Fauci noted that the Covid-19 situation in the United States does not necessarily reflect what is happening in the rest of the world.
“An epidemic means that the infection is spreading all over the world and it is spreading rapidly among people,” Fauci said. “So, if you look at the global situation, there is no doubt that this epidemic is still going on.”
On Wednesday, she said staying away from the pandemic is not language that Laurie Tremmel Freeman, chief executive of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, has heard in conversations within local health departments.
But there has been a slight shift on the ground as local health officials have now returned some focus to non-Covid areas, such as maternal health, child immunization, tuberculosis, HIV and other public health concerns.
“I think there are subtle shifts that are being made at the level of health departments at the local level to normalize the response to the epidemic in a way that allows them to return to the basic work of their public health departments,” Freeman said. “But these words that have been used about ending the pandemic are not being circulated well in the public health field at the moment.”
CNN’s Jacqueline Howard and Deidre MacPhillips contributed to this alert.