Dr Fauci claims US is 'out of the pandemic phase'

Biden's medical adviser makes claim despite the WHO still describing Covid as a global public health emergency

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America's leading infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci has said the US is climbing out of the emergency period of the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with PBS News, President Joe Biden's medical adviser said the US was "certainly right now ... out of the pandemic phase".

"Namely, we don't have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalisations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now," he said.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention data indicates a seven-day average of 47,000 recorded coronavirus cases. Rates are rising as highly contagious Omicron subvariants take hold.

Covid-19 hospital admissions are also low but increasing nationally, and the US death rate is continuing to decline.

The definition of a pandemic is an epidemic affecting the global population.

Dr Fauci clarified his comments on CBS News on Wednesday, saying that the US was still fighting a pandemic, but that its Covid-19 outbreak is "decelerated" in what he called a "controlled" phase.

"That does not mean we are out of the woods," he said, referring to rising cases.

"We certainly cannot say the pandemic is over. It is not over."

After convening this month, the World Health Organisation's emergency committee said the pandemic remained a major public health emergency of international concern.

"The committee unanimously agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic still constitutes an extraordinary event that continues to adversely affect the health of populations around the world, poses an ongoing risk of international spread," it said after the meeting.

The group of global health experts meets every three months to review the WHO's pandemic status for Covid.

"None of us can predict with any certainty where exactly this pandemic is going, what the virus is going to do next. All we can do is prepare," the White House Covid Response co-ordinator Dr Ashish Jha said on Tuesday.

He called on Congress to provide global pandemic aid, after the Senate countered Mr Biden's $22.5 billion plan for a $10bn proposal without international funds.

"Some people in this country sometimes think that we can take a domestic-only approach to a global pandemic. That's not a thing. You can't do that," he said.

"If we're going to fight a global pandemic, we have to have a global approach."

Updated: June 20, 2023, 12:22 PM