Just when you thought the pandemic was over, thanks to perhaps surprising comments by top White House Doctor Anthony Fauci, he’s here to reel you back in.
On Wednesday, Dr. Fauci told NPR’s “1A” podcast, that in fact no, the pandemic is not over.
The statement was meant to “clarify” Fauci’s comments from just a day earlier, when he told PBS, “We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Fauci told PBS Newshour host Judy Woodruff:
“We are certainly right now in this country 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 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.”
He added, “So, if you’re saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are. What we hope to do, I don’t believe — and I have spoken about this widely — 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 would have to be, Judy.”
Not so fast.
But by Wednesday’s NPR podcast appearance, Fauci walked back the statements he made on Tuesday. On Wednesday he said this:
“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. 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.”
Fauci wasn’t done yet. He “clarified” his previous comments a bit more:
“Is the pandemic still here? Absolutely. 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. Don’t anyone think that.”
Later on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki attempted to clean up Dr. Fauci’s confusing comments. The New York Post reports that Psaki was asked what exactly is going on.
Psaki stated, “Well, what Dr. Fauci was saying is that we are in a different phase of this pandemic, and that’s absolutely true. We also know COVID isn’t over and the pandemic isn’t over. People are still getting sick from COVID and we have measures that we should all continue to take to protect ourselves.”
And in yet another curious twist, the New York Times reported that Dr. Fauci would be skipping the upcoming annual White House correspondence dinner, citing, wait for it, COVID concerns.
Fauci told the Times that he would not be attending, “because of my individual assessment of my personal risk.”
Fox News medical contributor and Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Marty Makary couldn’t help himself and took a swipe at Fauci during an appearance with Tucker Carlson Wednesday night, saying:
“Dr. Fauci has been vaccinated four times and he still says he’s not comfortable going to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner this Saturday night. That is the person that is behind all the COVID policies in the United States.”
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