People gather on Huntington Beach which remains open amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 23, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. Neighboring beaches in Los Angeles County are closed in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said that the US is likely “near the end of the beginning” of the novel coronavirus pandemic as officials have found a nationwide plateau in new cases of the virus each day.

Despite promising indicators of new cases and deaths from the virus, Inglesby said on “Fox News Sunday” that the US is “not out of the woods by any means,” as several states that are set to reopen this week.

Inglesby also echoed warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci that the novel coronavirus could likely become “seasonal” with the possibility of a resurgence later this year, a prediction that suggests a vaccine is critical for the US to reopen. 

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Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Sunday that despite promising indicators regarding the novel coronavirus pandemic in the US, the country is still far from the end of the outbreak.

When Fox News’ Chris Wallace asked Inglesby on “Fox News Sunday” which stage in the coronavirus outbreak he thought the country currently was, the public health expert pointed to a national “plateau” in new cases.

Related: How Anthony Fauci Became the Nation’s Top Disease Expert

“I would say we are maybe near the end of the beginning of the pandemic in this country,” Inglesby said, adding that though “we have a plateau in new cases per day, unfortunately, it’s a very high plateau” with around 30,000 new cases of COVID-19 and 2,000 deaths every day.

“We are not out of the woods by any means but at least we’ve reached a stable number of new infections and the number of people who are dying,” Inglesby said.

Inglesby’s comments come after Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that by Memorial Day Weekend on May 25 “we will largely have this coronavirus epidemic behind us” and states will reopen.

That prediction is likely too optimistic, Inglesby told Wallace, as different areas in the country are in different stages of finding new cases that are too unpredictable for a widespread reopening by late May.

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“At this point, if you go state by state you see that in about half of the country the numbers are still rising day to day, about another third seems to be a leveling off and in a minority of the country the numbers are going down day by day,” Inglesby said, adding that he doesn’t “think it’s likely we will be in that position by Memorial Day.”

Despite some states and cities easing social distancing orders, Inglesby said that “wherever we are in the epidemic, this virus is going to be with us until we have a vaccine.”

Inglesby’s comments echo warnings from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, that the novel coronavirus could likely become “seasonal” with the possibility of a resurgence in the outbreak later this year.

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