File Photo: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the US president, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington. AP
Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, said on the PBS ``NewsHour'' on Tuesday that the coronavirus remains a pandemic for much of the world, but the threat is not over for the United States, adding that he was speaking about the worst phase of the pandemic.
``Namely, we don't have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now,'' he said.
In comments Wednesday to The Washington Post, however, Fauci seemed to clarify his earlier remarks, saying that unlike the ``full-blown explosive pandemic phase'' during the brutal winter omicron surge, he was describing what appears to be a period of transition toward the coronavirus becoming an endemic disease.
``The world is still in a pandemic. There's no doubt about that. Don't anybody get any misinterpretation of that. We are still experiencing a pandemic,'' Fauci told the Post.
His comments come as health authorities wrestle with how to keep COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations manageable and learn to live with what's still a mutating, and unpredictable virus.
The Biden administration has stressed that the nation has more tools _ vaccinations, booster shots, and medications, to better handle infections than earlier in the pandemic.
US cases are far lower than they were in recent months. But health officials are keeping a close eye as highly contagious variants continue to spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says cases have risen about 25% in the past week.