White House medical advisor says the US is exiting “full-blown pandemic,” expects restrictions to ease in coming months
White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Financial Times on Tuesday that the US is exiting the “full-blown pandemic phase” of Covid
-19, and that restrictions will soon be relaxed.
Fauci has been criticized before for flip-flopping on Covid
rules, but his latest statement comes amid a government-wide wind down of containment measures.
“As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of Covid
-19, which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated,” Fauci told the newspaper, referring to decisions on masking and vaccination.
Fauci added that he hoped restrictions will “soon be a thing of the past,” and speculated that people will need booster doses of Covid
“only every four or five years.”
As well as predicting a delegation of Covid
powers to state and local authorities, Fauci also said “there will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus.”
Fauci’s shifting positions on vaccines
and masking throughout the pandemic have angered conservatives. After initially advising people not to wear masks, Fauci then became a proponent of mask mandates. Likewise, Fauci promised Americans last year that ‘herd immunity’ to the coronavirus
could be reached if 70% of them got vaccinated, before admitting that he purposely misled people to boost uptake of the vaccine
Daily cases of Covid
-19 have fallen in the US since a record-breaking midwinter spike, yet even amid the surge in infections, the Biden administration began winding down its hardline Covid
policies. As cases climbed in late December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shortened its recommended quarantine time from 10 days to five for those without symptoms. From there, the agency revealed that deaths from Covid
alone had been overstated, and published a report stating that the cloth masks endorsed by Fauci and President Joe Biden
are the least effective face covering against the virus.
The US Supreme Court in January also struck down Biden’s vaccine
mandate for private companies, but allowed a mandate for healthcare workers to remain in place.
Fauci’s prediction that enforcement will be an issue for local authorities echoes Biden’s declaration in December that “there is no federal solution” to the pandemic.