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Dr. Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator. Image Credit: Reuters

Washington: The United States is still in a pandemic state and continues to reckon with an ever-evolving coronavirus despite making strides over the past two years, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said on Thursday.

"We have 80-plus-thousand infections happening a day, hundreds of people are still dying every day. We still have a whole host of challenges," Jha said when asked if the government should extend the public health emergency.

Health officials are planning for a scenario in which Congress fails to approve President Joe Biden's request for additional COVID funds by going through old contracts to see if there is any money they could "claw back," Jha told Reuters in an interview.