Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said Tuesday that the United States is out of the “pandemic phase” of COVID-19.
Speaking with PBS Newshour’s Judy Woodruff, Fauci said that globally, the pandemic continues, but he believes the worst is behind the United States.
“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,” Fauci said. “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.”
Between vaccination and prior infection, many Americans now have some antibodies to the virus, Fauci said.
“You have a rather substantial proportion of the United States population that has some degree of immunity that's residual, either residual from prior infection, or hopefully people who are getting vaccinated and boosted,” Fauci said.
As of Tuesday, nearly 70% of those ages 5 and up are fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC also noted that an estimated 58% of Americans had been infected with COVID-19 by February, based on research released by the agency on Tuesday.
While vaccinations and prior infections help blunt the effects of COVID-19, Fauci also noted that the U.S. is underutilizing treatments for the virus.
“In clinical trials, when you looked at the proportion of individuals who were protected from getting on and progressing to hospitalizations, it was close to 90%,” Fauci said of treatments. “So, we need to do more. There are a lot of doses available. We have sites where you can, as we say, test to treat, which means you can come into a place, get tested, and, if you are tested, immediately get put on therapy, if they're eligible.”