It’s been 777 days since the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic in the form of the novel coronavirus we now know as COVID-19. That not-so-lucky number will keep rolling up globally – but as for the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s over.
Fauci declared the U.S. “out of the pandemic phase,” not in any sort of official decree, but rather speaking with PBS NewsHour host Judy Woodruff – who clearly had no idea that a major scoop was about to land in her lap.
“Here we are, the end of April, the Spring of 2022. How close are we to the end of this pandemic?” she asked Fauci, according to video on Mediaite. To be fair, virtually no one would’ve seen this response coming:
“Well, that’s an unanswerable question for the following reason,” Fauci said, “and I don’t want to be evasive about it, but let me tell you why I’m giving you that answer … We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase.”
It’s not clear whether Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, has the authority to make that characterization in any way official. But he explained his reasoning all the same:
“We don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths,” he said. “We are at a low level right now.”
He clarified that the world is still under pandemic conditions – “If you look at the global situation, there’s no doubt this pandemic is ongoing,” he said – but repeated that Americans can begin referring to the pandemic in the past-tense, while suggesting that vaccination schedules could continue on indefinitely.
“That might be every year, that might be longer … but right now we are out of the pandemic phase in this country.”