It’s been nearly two years since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and lately people may have been hearing about the disease becoming “endemic.” But what does that mean?
In order to go from a pandemic to an endemic, experts say the virus would have to be at a level “usually present in a community,” like the flu.
Many people hope the Omicron variant’s increased transmissibility, and decreased severity, will get COVID-19 to that point. However, health officials say it’s not likely, and it all comes down to vaccines.
“There’s a good likelihood we’re gonna see another serious COVID wave of a new variant to be determined,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, from the Baylor College of Medicine.
“Until we get the 80 million or so people who continue to not get a vaccine, we’re going to be in trouble,” added Dr. Paul Offit, from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Vaccines have been credited with even further reducing the severity of the Omicron variant.
Locally, St. Luke’s and LVHN have both said a vast majority of their COVID patients were not vaccinated.
The latest CDC data shows 67% of eligible Americans are fully vaccinated.