RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When will the COVID-19 pandemic be over? It’s been one of the biggest questions since day one of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, Chief Medical Advisor to the President, Dr. Anthony Fauci, explained there were multiple stages to get through. The first is the pandemic stage and that’s where most of the world is right now.
The next stage we want to see, according to Fauci, is a decline in acceleration of cases. That’s not where the country is right nor as we see a turn around in cases.
“It’s going to be very difficult, at least in the foreseeable future, maybe ever to truly eliminate this highly transmissible virus,” Fauci said.
The goal is to get the U.S. to some level of control.
Control would mean the virus is still spreading, but does not interrupt society in any meaningful way, essentially getting things back to normal.
Fauci said while peaks have fallen, the U.S. has not been able to get full control.
The most recent peak is falling but cases are still at higher levels than spring and summer of last year. It’s also higher than seen for much of early 2021.
“We have got to go better than that,” Fauci said.
The top medical adviser steered away from putting a hard definition on control in regard to case numbers. He said something along the lines of 10,000 or fewer new cases a day might put the U.S. in control of the virus.
So how do we get to a level of control?
Vaccines, according to Fauci.
With more than 187 million people vaccinated, Fauci said more work is still needed to get younger populations vaccinated. People under age 40 still have lower vaccination rates than older populations.
66 million who are eligible to be vaccinated remain unvaccinated.
“We can get to control without a doubt. It is within our power and within our capability,” Fauci said.
The next step in the pandemic would be elimination. The U.S. has largely eliminated polio and measles in the past.
The final phase would be a eradication. Fauci said smallpox is the only human disease that has ever been completely eradicated.