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US COVID pandemic over? Experts warn against any early celebrations

"The explosive phase of the pandemic where we were losing literally thousands of lives every day, yes that does appear to be over for now," said Dr. Mark Casanova.

DALLAS — COVID-19 statistics are improving throughout most of the United States, leading the country's infectious disease expert to declare the pandemic over. 

But others are still preaching caution even as vaccines are about to become available for children under the age of six.

For two years we've watched COVID numbers rise and fall. According to the CDC, as of this week, the U.S. has recorded 81,028,797 COVID cases with more than 990,000 deaths blamed on the virus.

The CDC says that death rate represents three out of every 1,000 Americans and that COVID is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. for each of the last two years.

But earlier this week, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, offered some very good news.

"We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase," he said on the PBS NewsHour Program.

The CDC says 82.5% of Americans over the age of five have received at least one dose of vaccine and that COVID infections and deaths are at near historic lows.

Fauci has since clarified his "end of pandemic" remark, saying the U.S. is moving “into a transitional phase from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase…”

"Well I think we need to listen to Dr. Fauci's complete statement," said Dr. Mark Casanova with the UTSW COVID Task Force. "The explosive phase of the pandemic where we were losing literally thousands of lives every day, yes that does appear to be over for now."

Also, for children under the age of six, Moderna is asking to have its vaccine approved soon, with Pfizer expected next.

"So hopefully soon we'll have a vaccine for young children maybe two different ones from two different companies," said Dr. David Winter with Baylor Scott & White Health.

But the experts still preach caution, with the pandemic still raging in other parts of the world, notably South Africa and China.

"So if you look at the global situation, there's not doubt this pandemic is still ongoing," said Fauci of a virus that is still killing more than 300 Americans a day.

"And there is some data that suggests that for every one death, there are anywhere from 3 to 5 individuals who are suffering form long term effects of COVID 19," added Casanova about the long-term impact of COVID still to be determined.

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