Some Arizona doctors agree with Fauci that US is ‘out of the pandemic phase’

Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday the U.S. is out of the "pandemic phase" for COVID-19 and Arizona doctors say the same thing is happening for the state.
Published: Apr. 27, 2022 at 7:19 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — It’s been a long road to this point in what could be the end of the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. may be out of the pandemic phase but it’s still a global situation. “We are certainly right now in this country, out of the pandemic phase, namely, we don’t have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now,” Fauci said on Tuesday.

The nation’s top doctor says cases are at the lowest point they’ve been in months. We have all seen how this virus has evolved over the last two-and-a-half years. Dr. Fauci says the country is out of the pandemic phase. An Arizona doctor says he believes the state has been out of this phase for over a month. “It doesn’t mean zero risk. It just means the worst of this is behind us by far,” Will Humble, the executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association, said.

Humble explains what Fauci’s words mean. “When you’ve had enough antibodies or community immunity out there in the population to make it so that the virus can’t go exponential, in this case with COVID-19 filling up hospitals again the way it has happened three times now,” Humble said.

Humble says with more immunity, the virus has a harder time finding a new host or reinfecting someone. “There’s (sic) enough people that have been vaccinated or infected with omicron,” Humble said.

Fauci says we’re progressing due to lower levels of cases and hospitalizations. Here in Arizona, cases are increasing for the second week in a row. On Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported more than 2,300 new cases and 99 more COVID-related deaths.

Though cases in Arizona are up the last two weeks, that number is very small compared to January when omicron was spreading rapidly. Hospitalizations are also at their lowest point since the start of the pandemic. The peak was in January of last year, with more than 3,600 hospitalizations reported in one week.

The chief of staff at Deer Valley Medical Center, Sam Durrani, says a low number of cases is also helping with morale in the hospital. “It’s gotten better, a lot better,” Durrani said. “We are happy to be working back in a normal environment. People are smiling a lot more, which is good.”

Durrani says the focus now is more on playing catch up from care they weren’t able to deliver during the pandemic. “We are busy but not overwhelmed, so we feel like we can deliver good care to patients and spend the time with patients.” Health experts say the virus will most likely never go away but say a higher immunity rate should protect people from getting super sick.