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Biden says the pandemic has ended. Some local docs disagree.

COVID

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data indicates the U.S. is on pace for a lot more than 10,000 COVID-related deaths this month.

In a “60 Minutes” appearance Sunday, President Joe Biden said the COVID-19 pandemic has ended. The Associated Press

Appearing on CBSs 60 Minutes Sunday night, President Joe Biden made a declaration many Americans have long waited to listen to: The pandemic has ended.

We still have trouble with COVID. Were still performing a lot of focus on it. However the pandemic has ended, Biden said, in accordance with CNN.

Some public health experts beg to differ.

This is simply not the moment to state that the pandemic has ended, said Dr. Megan Ranney, a practicing emergency physician and academic dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Were certainly in an improved place with COVID than weve experienced the last year or two, she said within an interview, citing better treatments, new boosters targeting the omicron variant, and lower hospitalization rates.

But this disease is very much indeed still here around, Ranney said. Its still killing lots of folks. Its still impacting plenty of folks. Its still causing plenty of long-term disability with long COVID.

She continued: As a fresh Englander, Personally i think similar to were in the Heartbreak Hill moment of the marathon, where weve made plenty of progress, but weve not yet run the course.

Where do we stand?

In Massachusetts and over the U.S., the COVID-19 burden has been fairly steady for a couple months now, in accordance with Dr. Jonathan Levy, chair of the Department of Environmental Health at the Boston University School of Public Health.

However, steady doesnt indicate low this means theres type of a sustained level that weve had for some time, and there is still some health burden, in addition to a disruption for several people, Levy said.

In accordance with its COVID-19 dashboard, Massachusetts saw 7,936 new, confirmed cases in the a week ahead of Sept. 15. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the U.S. is on pace for a lot more than 10,000 COVID-related deaths in September, Levy noted.

The herpes virus also continues to disproportionately impact certain populations, including those people who are immunocompromised or for whom taking 5-10 days faraway from work throughout a bout with COVID-19 will be highly disruptive, Levy said.

With COVID-19 surges still happening globally, weve not yet met sort of the criteria to state that its not just a pandemic anymore, Ranney said, adding that it could also be premature to call COVID-19 endemic just like the flu or common cold.

A public health setback

I believe we all want to buy to be over, she said. Were all sick and tired of this disease; we wish it to disappear. Because of the advances of public health, lots of people can easily become if COVID is not any longer around and a threat.

COVID continues

Bidens comments also came because the nations public health emergency nears expiration the following month. In accordance with The Washington Post, that emergency declaration has allowed federal officials to rapidly authorize new COVID-19 treatments and keep many Americans included in Medicaid, having an estimated 15.8 million set to reduce coverage following the emergency declaration ends.

Although things are nearer to normal than theyve been, that messaging will set us back, Ranney said. Where we have been at this time is thanks in large part to your treating this as a pandemic getting vaccines in arms, getting ventilation, getting treatments and trying out to the average indivdual. If we pull back now, we risk it getting much worse.

Its nothing like the pandemic will probably end on some fixed day where we are able to say, Yesterday there is a pandemic; today there is absolutely no longer a pandemic, Levy added.

Ending the pandemic is really a gradual process where in fact the virus becomes more predictable and society finds a method to keep it in balance, he explained.

I dont believe that we have been yet at that degree of predictability, nor do I believe that deaths of thousands each year, many long COVID cases, and a lot of disruptions to school and work ought to be a thing that we accept because the new normal, Levy said.

Some factors are beyond human control, like the evolution of new variants, he said. However, vaccinations, treatments, testing, along with other public health interventions including paid sick leave can help bring the pandemic to a finish sooner, in accordance with Levy.

So what can you do?

The largest and most important things that folks can perform today would be to get them to vaccinated and, if eligible, boosted particularly for people that are aged 50 plus, Ranney said.

She also advised wearing masks in public areas during surges and advocating for investments in ventilation, testing, and treatment.

Levy said people ought to be sensible with regards to wearing masks, testing, and avoiding indoor crowds.

Because people are attempting to move ahead past COVID doesnt imply that it is no more present and inside our lives, he said.

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