The U.S. is no longer in the “pandemic phase,” but when the global COVID-19 pandemic will end is still an “unanswerable question” for the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci made the comments during a Tuesday interview with “PBS NewsHour,” raising hopes for COVID-weary Americans by saying “We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase.” However, Fauci warned that the pandemic is still ongoing in many parts of the world.

Fauci hedged when “PBS NewsHour” asked “How close are we to the end of this pandemic?” He said that it was a question with no answer at this time.

“We don't have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths," he said. "We are at a low level right now. So, if you're saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are."

But Fauci made it clear that the U.S. was “not going to eradicate this virus." He recommended the government continue to “intermittently vaccinate people,” adding that he didn’t know how often that would have to be.

“That might be every year, that might be longer, in order to keep that level low. But, right now, we are not in the pandemic phase in this country. Pandemic means a widespread, throughout the world, infection that spreads rapidly among people,” Fauci said.

Fauci’s comments come as COVID cases are on the rise in the U.S. but nowhere near the levels that were seen at the peak of the pandemic. As of Tuesday, the U.S. was averaging over 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that nearly 60% of Americans adults and 75% of children have been infected with COVID-19 as of the end of February.

anthony fauci Top U.S. pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci is pictured. Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB