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COVID is here to stay, what we can expect long term

Published: Jan. 18, 2022 at 8:28 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - COVID is now part of our everyday lives, and it’s here to stay. Going forward, doctors anticipate it will be more manageable than what we’ve experienced during the last two years.

UAB Epidemiologist Suzanne Judd says eventually COVID will transition from pandemic to endemic.

“Endemic viruses are just viruses that are regularly circulating, they pop up and become epidemic when these have a surge every now and then,” Judd explained. “But when they’re endemic, it means that we have to live with them regularly.”

According to public health, that means understanding how to change behavior when the virus mutates and surges.

“When we’re in a surge it’s important that we mask, it’s important that schools and businesses have guidelines for when they’re going to say it’s time to mask and when we can ease up,” added Judd. “Having those guidelines ahead of time will help them to be prepared when the surges come, and they will come regularly.”

Guidelines and current vaccinations could translate to shorter, less disruptive surges.

“The best way to ensure that those surges are not so bad is vaccination,” Judd stated. “Vaccine and a booster, that’s going to help keep you out of the hospital, it may not keep you from getting symptoms of COVID, but it will help keep you out of the hospital and prevent death.”

In the short term, community transmission remains high. This surge is expected to peak in two to three weeks, then cases will drop significantly.

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