WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 11: Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House Chief Medical Advisor and Director of the NIAID, shows a screen grab of a campaign website for Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) while answering his questions at a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The committee will hear testimony about the federal response to COVID-19 and new, emerging variants. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

(AP) – Dr. Anthony Fauci has given an upbeat assessment of the state of the coronavirus in the U.S., saying the country is “out of the pandemic phase” on new infections, hospitalizations and deaths. But the top infectious disease expert says it appears to be making a transition to becoming an endemic disease — occurring regularly in certain areas. He told the PBS “NewsHour” Tuesday it’s still a pandemic for much of the world, but the threat is not over for the U.S. In comments Wednesday to The Washington Post, Fauci seemed to clarify his remarks, saying that unlike the “full-blown explosive pandemic phase” of the winter omicron surge, he was describing an apparent transition toward COVID-19 becoming an endemic disease.