Fauci: 400 COVID deaths per day 'is not an acceptable number,' 'We still have a lot of challenges'

"It really becomes semantics and about how you want to spin it," Fauci says of Biden's declaration that the "pandemic is over"

Updated: September 21, 2022 - 3:40pm

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical advisor, says challenges with COVID-19 remain in the U.S. and that 400 COVID-related deaths is "not an acceptable number."

Biden made headlines when he recently said that the "pandemic is over." Fauci was asked if he agrees with Biden's assessment. 

"If you look at his entire quote, it's not incompatible with what I had said the day before, that we still have a lot of challenges ahead," Fauci said at the Atlantic Festival on Wednesday. 

Fauci said Biden was trying to convey that the "fulminant accelerated phase" of the pandemic has ended.

"The point he was making is that it's very different now where you have much better control," he said.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Biden meant that "we're really not over with COVID."

"It really becomes semantics and about how you want to spin it," he said.

Fauci added that overall COVID-related deaths are down but that it has to go much lower.

"400 deaths per day is not an acceptable number as far as I'm concerned," he said. "We've got to get it down much, much lower."

He said about 67% of the population is fully vaccinated against COVID.