Foci says the U.S. is out of the COVID-19 pandemic phase

(CNN) – The United States is out of the COVID-19 pandemic phase, said Dr. Anthony Foci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“We are, of course, now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” Foci told PBS NewsHour on Tuesday.

“Namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens, tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are now at a low level. So when you say are we out of the pandemic? phase in this country? We are, ”he said.

COVID-19 cases in the U.S. have fallen sharply over the past couple of months as the Omicron wave receded.

But daily cases are still twice as high as they were for most of last summer.

New cases are on the rise in most states, and the number of hospitalizations has also begun to rise over the past week.

Fewer people are now dying from COVID-19 than during most of the pandemic, but with more than 400 deaths a day, the last two months of COVID-19 have been more deadly than recent flu seasons.

Foci said that although the coronavirus will not be eradicated, the level of the virus in society could be very low if people are vaccinated periodically, perhaps every year.

Currently, local field health officials in the U.S. are still working to get more people fully vaccinated and stimulated against COVID-19.

The situation with COVID-19 in the United States also does not necessarily reflect what is happening in the rest of the world, Foci noted.

“A pandemic means a widespread infection around the world that is spreading rapidly among humans,” Foci said. “So if you look at the global situation, then surely this pandemic is still going on.”

Exiting the pandemic is not a language Lori Tremel Freeman, chief executive of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, heard in conversations at local health departments, she said Wednesday.

But there has been a small shift on the ground: local health officials are now turning their attention to areas not related to COVID, such as maternal health, child immunization, tuberculosis, HIV and other public health issues.

“I think there are small shifts in health departments at the local level to normalize the response to the pandemic so that they can return to the core work of their health departments,” Freeman said. “But the words that were used about the end of the pandemic are not spreading well in health care now.”

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