Clarifying previous comments, Dr. Anthony Fauci nows says the COVID-19 pandemic "is not over."
Originally, the White House chief medical adviser appeared on NPR's "1A" podcast to discuss what followed from a U.S. district court judge striking down the federal mask mandate.
But the discussion pivoted to a statement Fauci gave Tuesday on how the United States was easing out of the pandemic.
"We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase," Fauci told PBS "NewsHour."
But when asked by NPR on Wednesday if the United States had cleared the hurdle, Fauci insisted the pandemic was not over.
"I want to clarify one thing, I probably should have said the acute component of the pandemic phase, and I understand how that can lead to some misinterpretation" Fauci said. "I was talking about the acute fomenting phase, and everyone agrees we're not there. We're not getting 900,000 new infections a day."
"Is the pandemic still here? Absolutely," Fauci continued. "So when I said phase, I probably should have said the acute stage of the pandemic phase. We're now transitioning, not there yet, but transitioning to more of an endemicity where the level of infections is low enough that people are starting to learn to live with the virus – still protecting themselves by vaccination, by the availability of antivirals, by testing. So I really meant the acute phase as opposed to pandemic."
"The pandemic is not over," he insisted. "Don't anyone think that."
Fauci's comments followed the European Union declaring an end to the emergency phase of the pandemic, Politico reported. And, the New York Post reported, White House press secretary Jen Psaki also stressed Wednesday the pandemic "isn't over."
"What Dr. Fauci was saying is that we are in a different phase of this pandemic, and that's absolutely true," Psaki stated.
Psaki's comments come as Reuters reported President Joe Biden will limit his time at the White House correspondents dinner in order to avoid COVID-19 exposure.
Fauci later added there is "no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing" in countries outside the U.S.
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