MEMPHIS, Tenn.– We are out of the pandemic phase. That’s the message from the President’s chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci. But one local doctor warns it might not be time to let your guard down yet.
Just over two years after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus a pandemic, the tide is turning in the United States.
“We are certainly right now in this country, out of the pandemic phase; namely we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day,” Dr. Fauci said.
Currently, America is averaging about 50,000 new coronavirus cases a day, which is the lowest since the summer of 2021. Here locally, the Shelby County Health Department is reporting about 50 cases daily.
As an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Manoj Jain is on the frontline dealing with coronavirus. He says things have changed drastically since the pandemic started.
“The only way you got a bed was if a COVID patient died and then another one could come in. Now those beds are empty. We are finding that we have doing a great feat in moving ahead,” Dr. Jain said.
Dr. Jain, like many other health leaders, believes the key to staying on this current trajectory is doing the things that have become a staple of the pandemic.
“Keep it flexible. Use it as tool and again layer yourself with protection. Masking is a level of layering. Vaccination is a layer of protection. Testing is a layer of protection,” he said.
The CDC predicts COVID-19 hospitalizations will increase nationwide in the coming weeks, following an uptick in cases. Dr. Jain says it’s expected given things have switched from a pandemic to an endemic.
“We will see spurts of the virus occur causing cases and people to get sick. Maybe in the fall, there will be a surge again. What we have to do to protect ourselves like we do in the fall, every year is we get vaccinated,” Dr. Jain said.
The nation’s top infectious disease expert told PBS that it’s unclear how often folks will have to get vaccinated.
“I don’t know how often that would have to be Judy, it might be every year, it might be longer in order to keep that level low,” Dr. Fauci said.
The CDC found three out of four children have had COVID-19. Pfizer is seeking approval from the FDA to begin giving out booster shots to kids 5 to 11.