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How do you know when the COVID-19 crisis is over?

 


People relax at Georgetown Waterfront Park on Monday in Washington, DC. While pandemic restrictions have been lifted in most parts of the country, the COVID-19 delta variant has hospitalized thousands of previously unvaccinated US people.

People relax at Georgetown Waterfront Park on Monday in Washington, DC. While pandemic restrictions have been lifted in most parts of the country, the COVID-19 delta variant has hospitalized thousands of previously unvaccinated US people.

Tasoska Topodis / Getty Images

In many respects, American life is back to normal. mask It is no longer needed in many places. school Universities are scheduled to reopen and days of social distance are beginning to fade So concert Sporting events bring back the audience.

In the US, it’s currently averaging 154 people die a day From COVID-19 — negligible compared to the pandemic peak- And there are still some safety measures and restrictions.The life of Americans in the late pandemic hasn’t completely returned to the status quo, but it feels a lot. Close to normal Than 6 months ago.

But while authorities may want to clarify everything and say that a pandemic is history, the crisis is not over, either in the United States or abroad.

question of when The crisis actually comes to an end, but there are many answers from a regional, national and global perspective.

There is no fixed indicator of when it ended

America Declaration COVID-19 National emergency on March 13, 2020.

The virus is now much better controlled as the COVID-19 vaccine becomes widely available months after the United States was the world leader in coronavirus cases.

That federal emergency is still valid — it has been updated several times, Recently in April..It can be extended by the Secretary of Health as long as An emergency is considered to exist.

Healthcare professionals, first responders and key workers will be honored for their services during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Hometown hero" Ticker tape parade in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers will be honored for their service during the COVID-19 pandemic at the “Heroes of Hometown” Ticker Tape Parade in Manhattan on Wednesday.

Newsday LLC / Newsday via Getty Images

It is not clear whether the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will explicitly issue all of its kind. The CDC did not respond to the NPR on this issue.

ArimokudadAn epidemiologist at the University of Washington, the CDC hopes that the CDC will ultimately give Americans a sign of the future. He previously played many roles at the CDC for nearly 20 years.

When the time came, Mokudad told the NPR, “It’s very important to our own CDC …” We’re in danger now. We should continue our lives. ” Is to say. “”

He states that the situation is dynamic and changing so rapidly that there is no clear indicator of when the pandemic is over. And the virus itself is evolving.

“Looking at the genetic makeup and sequencing of the virus, and how it changes, there’s still plenty of room for mutation. It’s not the end of the mutation cycle. The virus is still a lot. It can be surprising, “he says.

Foo Fighters reopened Madison Square Garden in New York City last month. The concert, which vaccinated all participants, was the first full-scale concert in the New York Arena since March 2020.

Foo Fighters reopened Madison Square Garden in New York City last month. The concert, which vaccinated all participants, was the first full-scale concert in the New York Arena since March 2020.

Kevin Mazur / FF Getty Images

How the pandemic officially ends

who Declaration COVID-19 Pandemic on March 11th last year – Same day That life began to change dramatically in much of the United States

So who declares a pandemic when the virus is finally under control?

Basically it is.

Once the global spread of COVID-19 ceases, it will no longer be considered a pandemic. “In general, if the global spread of the disease is controlled in a local area, it is no longer a pandemic, but an epidemic,” WHO told NPR.

But it is the characterization of the outbreak Pandemic It has no formal meaning under international law.

what will you do Having a formal meaning is a “public health emergency of international concern” and status Assigned I was infected with COVID-19 at the end of January 2020. This is the highest level of health alert under international law.

WHO convenes an international committee every three months to determine whether the outbreak should still be considered such a global health emergency. When it’s over, WHO says it’s over.that is What it did About the outbreak of Ebola in Africa last summer.

But it will probably take some time before that happens.

Frequently as Executive Director of WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus state: Not all of us will be safe until everyone is safe.

The United States has not yet left the forest

Delta variants spread throughout the United States as quickly as epidemiologists feared. Currently accounts for more than half of the cases in the United States Much more than that In certain states.

Ring GoldmanAn epidemiologist at George Washington University and dean of the Faculty of Public Health, says the United States has certain things that work for it and some that oppose it.

The good news is that it has shown its ability to reduce viral infection and mortality. And, of course, Americans have wide access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

The bad news is that there are two main ways to prevent infection: resistance to vaccination and wearing a mask.

“Unfortunately, these two attributes tend to match within the same people and subgroups of the same population,” says Goldman. In other words, many of the same people who do not want to be vaccinated do not want to wear a mask.

Graduates attended the USC graduation ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in May.

Graduates attended the USC graduation ceremony at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in May.

Alsave / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

As a result, Goldman said the virus is likely to continue to spread in areas with the lowest vaccination rates in the United States.

Current vaccines are very effective against COVID-19, which contains the delta mutant. In other words, the results are very different for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not. For example, last month, 92 people died of COVID-19 in Maryland.All of them Unvaccinated..

Local numbers tell you more than state and country numbers

The most accurate indicators of progress and problems are very local.

According to Mokudad, national and state indicators of infection and vaccination rates can be misleading. The state’s overall immunization rate can hide a much smaller number in certain pockets that remain very vulnerable to outbreaks.

Low vaccination rates make it easier for rapidly spreading variants to settle.

There are many ways to track (or not track) the progress of virus control, but one of the most useful indicators, according to Mokudad, is hospitalization.

“Everyone who goes to the hospital now is being tested for COVID-19, so there is no way to mistake or underreport COVID-19 admission,” says Mokdad.

This is in contrast to cases that may not be counted due to lack of testing and deaths. When an outbreak occurs, it can spike a few weeks behind other indicators.

Students will be vaccinated with their families on Tuesday at the Pop-up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Winnetka, California.

Students will be vaccinated with their families on Tuesday at the Pop-up COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic in Winnetka, California.

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Coronavirus could surge again this winter

Although cases in the United States have improved significantly from their peak, unvaccinated people continue to die of COVID-19 until successful control of the infection.

Experts say the next big challenge comes to this winter. Another wave is expected when people come in during the colder months. When students return to school, some outbreaks can occur — children under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

How dangerous the virus remains depends on the vaccination level of the population and the lethality of the mutants that circulate when winter comes. How quickly state and local governments return to restrictive measures, such as wearing masks indoors, also plays an important role.

“In the short term, it has the seasonality of influenza, because there aren’t enough vaccines to vaccinate everyone in the world,” says Mokudad.

He says that if you do the right thing, such as increasing vaccine production, you may eventually not have to worry about COVID-19.

What the end of the crisis may look like in the United States

Goldman believes that there are two possible scenarios in the United States in the near future.

One is that the virus has evolved to make it easier to evade administered vaccines.

If that happens, she says, “then we would all have to go into a completely different round of re-vaccination.” Pharmaceutical companies are already working on booster shots in case they need it.

On the one hand, it may not happen, and current vaccines will continue to be very effective.

In that case, Goldman will say “in the next few months. near Indeed, we will eradicate pandemics in the United States and Europe, other wealthy countries, Japan and Taiwan, “and will continue our efforts to immunize people in other parts of the world.

According to Goldman, even though the pandemic is over, it is likely that the infection will continue in some countries with low vaccination rates.

But there is one thing that is clear. Whatever happens, the effects of a pandemic— Long COVID, Mental health issues, and financial implications — do not end when a formal emergency ends.

Copyright 2021 NPR. For more information, please visit https://www.npr.org.

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