World still in 1st of pandemic's 5 stages, Fauci warns

Anthony Fauci, MD, on Jan. 17 cautioned against overestimating global progress in controlling COVID-19, saying the world is still in the first of five pandemic stages, according to Fortune

Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued the remarks during the World Economic Forum's Davos Agenda virtual conference. 

Below is a breakdown of the five pandemic stages:

1. Pandemic. We are still in the pandemic stage "where the whole world is really very negatively impacted as we are right now," Dr. Fauci said.

2. Deceleration. The next stage is deceleration, in which the world sees a slowdown in newly confirmed cases. Dr. Fauci said it's too soon to know whether natural immunity will cause new cases to fall and noted that a new variant could always prevent this drop off. 

3. Control. The third phase is the control phase. In this stage of the pandemic, COVID-19 would become an endemic disease and "present at a level that does not disrupt society," Dr. Fauci said. 

4. Elimination. The fourth stage of a pandemic is elimination. This occurs when a virus still exists in the world but has been eradicated from certain regions or countries.

5. Eradication. The fifth and final stage is eradication, which entails global elimination of a virus. 

"That's not going to happen with this virus," Dr. Fauci said, noting that smallpox is the only infectious human disease that has ever been fully eradicated. 

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