The United States is exiting “the full-blown pandemic phase” of the coronavirus crisis, Anthony S. Fauci, President Biden’s top medical adviser, told the Financial Times as World Health Organization officials said half a million covid-19 deaths have been tallied around the globe since the omicron variant was first detected in November.
Fauci said decisions on coronavirus restrictions will be increasingly made on a local level, “as we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of covid-19, which we are certainly heading out of,” Fauci told the newspaper. “There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus.”
In the United States, covid cases declined 44 percent in the past week compared to the previous seven days, according to a Washington Post tracker, and hospitalizations related to covid-19 also declined over the same period. However, the seven-day average of deaths during the omicron surge has reached 2,600 in recent days, the highest level the country has seen in a year.
Worldwide, coronavirus deaths rose for the fifth consecutive week, with the 68,000 fatalities reported last week representing a 7 percent jump from the previous week. About 100,000 of the global deaths since omicron was detected have occurred in the United States, WHO incident manager Abdi Mahamud said Tuesday in an online Q&A session. He called the death toll “tragic” in a country with plentiful supply of effective vaccines.
Here’s what to know
- Global coronavirus deaths increased for the fifth week in a row, with the number of fatalities increasing by 7 percent last week. World Health Organization officials called the trend tragic at a time of effective vaccinations.
- Hawaii is in discussions about eliminating all restrictions on travel in the coming months — barring any more covid surges. Currently, travelers have to quarantine for five days unless they provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result.
- The public health officials responsible for crafting the United States’ covid-19 response will brief the public at 11 a.m. local time from the White House.
MORE ON THE OMICRON VARIANT