(EFE).- The top US epidemiologist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday walked back his earlier comments that the country had moved out of the Covid-19 pandemic phase, saying that it had simply entered into a phase during which the spread of the coronavirus is more “controlled.”

“We certainly cannot say the pandemic is over,” Fauci told CBS News. “It is not over.”

The White House’s key disease expert thus retracted his remarks from a few hours earlier during an interview with PBS News in which he had said that the US was already “out of the pandemic phase” since the country is no longer experiencing “tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths” per day.

Nevertheless, he had added that “if you look at the global situation, there’s no doubt this pandemic is still ongoing.”

Fauci, 81, said Wednesday that, although the pandemic is still continuing, it is not as “acute” as before and now is in a “decelerated” and much more “controlled” phase.

The epidemiologist was at first asked on PBS “How close are we to the end of this pandemic?” but he responded that that was an “unanswerable question.”

At her daily press conference, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also denied that the pandemic had ended, saying that what Fauci intended to say was that now it is in a “different” phase with a “relatively low” number of new daily infections.

According to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), new daily Covid-19 cases in the US are not exceeding 60,000 for April, after the spike experienced in January due to the spread of the Omicron variant where the daily infection rate surpassed a million new cases.

By the same token, Covid-19 deaths are in a downward trend with fewer than 500 per day and with figures below 100 on some days.

During the PBS interview, Fauci was also asked about the effectiveness of a treatment which the US government has backed when treating Covid-19, namely the use of anti-viral Paxlovid pills manufactured by Pfizer.

Fauci emphasized that this is a “highly effective” treatment and emphasized that clinical trials have shown that 90 percent of the volunteers to whom the treatment was administered were protected against a worsening of the disease and having to be hospitalized.

The White House disease expert said the government has many doses of Paxlovid available but the treatment is “under-utilized,” adding that there are sites in the US where someone can get tested for Covid and if the test comes back positive they can receive the drug immediately, as was the case for Vice President Kamala Harris, who confirmed on Tuesday that she had tested positive for the virus.

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