THE HILL – An uptick in COVID-19 cases as winter approaches is setting off a debate about if a new era of living with the virus has arrived or whether heightened restrictions and caution are still needed.
Cases in the U.S. have risen to more than 80,000 per day as the weather in much of the country gets colder.
There are about 1,000 people dying every day from the virus, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) figures, largely among the unvaccinated.
[Pre-Covid, the U.S. death toll was 7,821 per day. – Source: CDC, 2019 data]
At the same time, the widespread availability of vaccines and booster shots has made the individual risk for many people far lower.
The result is a sometimes-confusing picture where individuals and localities are trying to figure out what level of risk to accept.
“I am now approaching it as if now is a reasonable version of what the future is likely to look like.” – Bob Wachter, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
Washington, D.C., for example, on Tuesday announced it is lifting its mask mandate.
LaQuandra Nesbitt, director of D.C.’s health department, said the virus is becoming “endemic,” meaning it is fading into a fact of life in the background.
“We are learning to live with COVID. It’s really my way of trying to stress to people that we’ve moved away from this goal of getting to zero cases.”
Other experts, though, worried the move was premature heading into the winter and with cases and deaths still at a high level.
“The way I view it is this is the last part of the crisis phase,” said Walid Gellad, professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh.
He said it would make sense to wait a few more weeks to allow more children under 12 to be vaccinated and to give time for powerful new antiviral treatments from Pfizer and Merck to be authorized … READ MORE.
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