Dr. Fauci clarifies ‘pandemic is not over’ yet — U.S. is out of ‘acute’ phase

Sorry, we really are no out of the pandemic yet, Dr. Anthony Fauci clarified Wednesday. But we are out of the acute pandemic phase in the US

Earlier this week, President Biden’s chief medical officer responded to a question from journalist Judy Woodruff about how we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic during a PBS Newshour interview.

“We are definitely out of the pandemic phase in this country. That is, 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 now at a low level.”

– Dr. Anthony Fauci in a PBS Newshour interview.

But the infectious disease expert, who became a household name during the White House’s daily coronavirus briefings in 2020, also said the question “How far are we from the end of this pandemic?” it’s really an “unanswered question.”

“The pandemic means a widespread infection around the world that is spreading rapidly among people,” he said. “Therefore, if we look at the global situation, there is no doubt that this pandemic is still ongoing.”

“I do not believe, and I have spoken extensively, that we will not eradicate this virus,” he added. But he hoped the cases could be kept low.

However, he backtracked on his remarks on NPR’s “1A” podcast on Wednesday, noting that he could see how his remarks could be misinterpreted.

“Is the pandemic still here? Absolutely,” Fauci said. “So when I said ‘phase’, I probably should have said ‘the acute stage of the pandemic phase.’ low enough for people to start learning how to live with the virus, still protecting themselves through vaccination, the availability of antivirals, testing, so it really meant the acute phase, rather than the pandemic.

“The pandemic is not over. Let no one think about it.”

– Dr. Anthony Fauci of NPR

In fact, global cases exceeded 511.1 million on Tuesday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, while the death toll rose above 6.22 million. And the United States has an average of 49,423 cases a day, according to a New York Times crawler, which is 53% more than two weeks ago. But, as Fauci told PBS, “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’re now at a low level.”

However, he noted that the cases are probably not reported enough, probably because many Americans who have developed some degree of immunity through vaccination or previous COVID infection do not experience as many symptoms when they have COVID, so they do not. go to the hospital or report the infection to government officials or public health organizations.

“There are a lot of people, people I know, friends and others, who get infected, who get an antigen test, they don’t show a lot of symptoms, but they don’t communicate it to anyone,” he said. “So the fact is that there are infections that are not being reported centrally.”

News about coronavirus: The CDC study highlights the speed with which the omicron variant infected Americans, and the WHO warns that testing is still crucial.

Some 219.4 million people living in the United States are fully vaccinated, equivalent to 66.1% of the total population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 100.2 million are promoted, equivalent to 45.7% of the vaccinated population.

“So I think there’s an insufficient count. We should do better,” he continued. “We should probably be able to follow them much better.”

Fauci also said that the country is not taking advantage of the antiviral treatment COVID-19 Paxlovid developed by Pfizer PFE,
+ 1.05%
enough. “We are not using what is a highly effective therapy,” he said.

“In clinical trials, when the proportion of individuals who were protected from continuing and progressing in hospitalizations was analyzed, it was close to 90%,” he said. “So we need to do more. There are many doses available.”

In fact, the White House announced on Tuesday, the same day that Vice President Kamala Harris revealed that she had tested positive for COVID, that Paxlovid will now be distributed directly to pharmacies and that it is intensifying the distribution of antiviral drugs in clinics. state. and other existing distribution channels.

Read more: White House boosts access to antiviral COVID and urges Congress to fund next stage of pandemic response

Harris, 57, who has been asymptomatic, is taking Paxlovid to treat her infection “after consulting with her doctors,” her spokeswoman Kirsten Allen said in a tweet. He has not had close contact with President Joe Biden, and will work in isolation at the Vice President’s residence until it is clear again.

“We have ordered tens of thousands more of these drugs, that is, Paxlovid,” Fauci said. “We started with 20,000 sites [that] have Paxlovid available. We are increasing it to 30,000, with the goal of reaching 40,000, basically doubling the number of places you can get it. ”

The White House also told doctors not to think twice before prescribing the pill to eligible patients.

“This is something that is available and should be used much more widely,” Fauci said.

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