CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) – The nation’s top infectious disease expert said we are in a new phase when it comes to the pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci said while the global pandemic continues, in the U.S. it’s a different story.

Fauci said the country is out of the pandemic phase, mostly because there aren’t 900,000 new infections a day. And he said the U.S. will not get rid of the virus, but he said if we can keep numbers low, we will stay on a good track.

Sheldon Jacobson is a professor of computer sciences. He’s an expert in data-driven risk-based decision-making, and uses that to help inform public healthy policies.

He said moving to an endemic won’t happen overnight.

“I think people want to believe that the pandemic to endemic phase is a switch, but it’s really much more of a dial. And by being a dial, what that means is we are moving in the right direction, but we want to keep moving in the right direction,” he said.

Fauci said there will most likely be intermittent vaccinations for people. That will help keep numbers down. He said he doesn’t know how often or when that will happen.

Jacobson said just because the light at the end of the tunnel is closer, doesn’t mean it can’t dim again. He said if a new, very serious variant emerges, or if vaccines stop working for some reason, we could dial back into the pandemic phase. He suggests people still use mitigation to help get us to an endemic.