Dr. Fauci says the ‘US is out of the pandemic phase’

Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, responds to questions at hearing on Capitol Hill. (Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

White House medical adviser and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said the U.S. is "out of the pandemic phase" during an interview on PBS’s "NewsHour" Tuesday night. 

Fauci addresses the state of the pandemic in the US

While discussing the state of COVID, PBS anchor Judy Woodruff asked Fauci if the U.S. is out of the pandemic phase.

"We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase," Fauci said. "Mainly, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day, and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now. So, if you're saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are."

Fauci continued: "We’re not going to eradicate this virus. If we can keep that level very low and intermittently vaccinate people, and I don’t know how often that will have to be, that might be every year, that might be longer to keep that level low. But, right now, we are not in the pandemic phase in this country."

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Although the U.S. is making strides, Fauci warned that’s not the case everywhere in the world. 

"If you look at the global situation, there's no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing," Fauci concluded.

In an interview with the Washington Post Wednesday, Fauci clarified his comments from the PBS interview, saying in part that the coronavirus is no longer causing the number of hospitalizations and deaths seen in the nation at the height of the omicron variant in late 2021.

Two weeks ago, Fauci said in an interview with Bloomberg Television that he wouldn’t be surprised if there was an increase in U.S. virus cases in coming weeks, with a more serious spike in cases potentially arriving this fall.

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U.S. COVID deaths declining

New reported U.S. cases of COVID-19 are relatively low compared with the past two years, but they have increased lately and are likely an undercount. Hospitalizations are nearly flat and deaths are still declining, according to the Associated Press.

Some 314 Americans are now dying each day from the coronavirus, which is down from more than 2,600 during the height of the omicron wave earlier this year.

CDC estimates 3 out of 4 children had coronavirus infections

On Tuesday, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that three out of every four U.S. children have been infected with the coronavirus and more than half of all Americans had signs of previous infections.

The researchers examined blood samples from more than 200,000 Americans and looked for virus-fighting antibodies made from infections, not vaccines. 

They found that signs of past infection rose dramatically between December and February when the more contagious omicron variant surged through the U.S.

New omicron mutant emerges

A new omicron mutant that is a descendant of the earlier "stealth omicron" has gained ground in the United States. 

The variant has been detected in at least 13 other countries, but the U.S. has the highest levels of it so far. Scientists say it spreads even faster than stealth omicron.

BA.2.12.1 was responsible for 29% of new COVID-19 infections nationally last week, according to data reported Tuesday by the CDC. And it caused 58% of reported infections in the New York region.

RELATED: Airlines to allow passengers banned over masks back on planes

Federal transportation mask mandate lifted

Last week, a federal judge struck down the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation. Major airlines allowed most passengers who were banned for violating mask rules back on planes.

The mask mandate was issued by the CDC in February 2021 when COVID-19 cases were soaring. Not long after, airlines began banning people in record numbers for refusing to wear masks and for harassing crew members who asked them to comply.

Biden Administration expands availability of COVID antiviral pill Paxlovid

President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to expand the availability of the life-saving COVID-19 antiviral treatment Paxlovid. The administration is trying to reassure doctors that there is enough of a supply for people at high risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus.

Paxlovid is produced by Pfizer and was first approved in December. The administration is also working to expand the number of test-to-treat sites that provide a one-stop-shop for those with COVID-19 to get tested for the virus, consult with a medical professional if they're positive, and fill a prescription for Paxlovid on site.

FOX 11 Los Angeles, FOX 5 DC, FOX 10 Phoenix, and the Associated Press contributed to this story. This story was reported from Washington, D.C.