(by Chris Pandolfo | The Blaze) – One day after saying in an interview that the U.S. is “out of the pandemic phase,” White House chief medical adviser and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci has reversed his position and insists he did not say what he said.
On Tuesday, Fauci said that the U.S. was in a good position with COVID-19 compared to the rest of the world. “We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase,” he told PBS anchor Judy Woodruff.
But on Wednesday, he told CBS News that comments have been misconstrued to suggest he said the pandemic has ended.
“We certainly cannot say the pandemic is over,” he said. “It is not over.”
Fauci attempted to clarify his comments, telling CBS that the U.S. is still dealing with COVID-19 even though it appears the country has entered a new phase of the pandemic. He said that compared to the previous two years, the spread of the virus is not “acute” and “accelerated,” that the U.S. is not experiencing thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of new daily cases each day. This current stage of the pandemic is “decelerated” and more “controlled,” he said.
He cited the availability of vaccines and therapeutics like Paxlovid to show how far the country has come in developing treatments to reduce the severity of COVID-19.
“That does not mean we are out of the woods,” Fauci added, acknowledging that coronavirus cases are beginning to “creep up” again as the BA.2 Omicron subvariant has become the dominant virus strain in the U.S. He called for Americans to stay vigilant and make their own choices about whether to attend large gatherings or take additional precautions against the virus.
For these reasons, Fauci, 81, said he will not attend the upcoming White House Correspondents Association dinner, even though guests are required to be fully vaccinated and show proof of a negative same-day antigen test before attending the event Saturday.
Vice President Kamala Harris tested positive for COVID-19 Tuesday and is reportedly taking Paxlovid pills to treat her infection.
President Joe Biden, 79, will attend the dinner, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday. The president is fully vaccinated and double-boosted and made his decision in consultation with his physician, she told reporters.
“Obviously, this weekend, he’ll be attending the White House Correspondents’ Dinner,” Psaki said. “It’s an opportunity to honor the work of all of you and many of your colleagues and to talk about the importance of journalism in the world. That’s an event he’s attended many times in the past, and he made a decision, through consultations, that it was an event he could attend and wanted to attend again.”