The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the COVID-19 virus should become a seasonal virus like the flu, but the U.S. is still a long way from seeing numbers that would mean an endemic.

“I do anticipate that this is probably going to be a seasonal virus,” Dr. Rochelle Walensky told NBC News. “I would say put your masks in a drawer, anticipate you may need them again and hope that we don’t.”

“We may want to be more vigilant during some seasons. Maybe during respiratory season, if things ramped up,” she said.

According to a report published Monday, the transition from the pandemic to normal life is a long way off. The number of cases and deaths per day in the U.S. remains high enough to be considered a pandemic.

"Make no mistake, the United States is far from a normal situation,” the authors of the report wrote.

Many of the authors of the report were leading health experts who also served on President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 transition team. The authors published the report amid many state and federal policy changes to vaccination requirements and mask mandates for many indoor and public settings.

Per week, 12,000 are still dying from the COVID-19 virus on average, according to the report, much higher than many other common seasonal viruses. According to the CDC, 9,000 people died in the last week from COVID-19.

The report’s authors warned against “premature triumphalism” as the dangers of a third variant or wave of COVID-19 is not completely out of the picture. In an optimistic scenario, 20,000 people will die per year of COVID, according to the report.

While the death toll will not be as significant because the number of vaccinated individuals will protect some from severe illness and death, there is still a danger of ‌264,000 dying amid another surge, according to the report. That is about half of the death toll during the previous surges.

“While the situation in the country has been improving for several weeks, we are not at the next normal yet,” the report's authors urged. “More needs to be done before we can transition from an emergency with mitigation measures to the joys and carefree time of not having to worry about Covid.”