COVID is here to stay, the country’s top infectious disease expert said Sunday.

The persistence of the virus means yearly vaccine booster shots could be in store for everyone, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical adviser, told PIX 11 in an interview.

“We’re going to be dealing with this virus on a chronic basis,” Fauci said. “We really hope … it will reach a level low enough that it doesn’t disrupt us to the extent that it has over the past couple of years.”

In recent weeks, COVID case numbers have been increasing nationwide. Average daily case numbers have risen about 26% around the country, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Average daily case numbers in New York City have nearly doubled, to 4,214 as of Tuesday, according to the Health Department.

Fauci noted while many cases are going unreported, hospitalizations are a good gauge of the outbreak.

New York City was averaging about 70 COVID hospitalizations per day on Tuesday, far below recent winter peaks.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended a second COVID vaccine booster shot for those ages 50 and older.

All Americans can expect to get regular boosters in the future, according to Fauci, who compared the situation to annual flu shots.

“We know that immunity wanes over time,” he said.

“Depending upon what this virus does, there is certainly a reasonably good chance that we will have the same sort of situation that we have with influenza, where every year you have to re-boost people to keep that protection up,” Fauci added.

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