The fact that COVID-19 cases in adults continue to occur in great numbers—and (mainly unvaccinated) patients continue to die—may overshadow the fact that the rate of new cases nationally is dropping. As of October 6, according to data collected by The New York Times from state and local health agencies, new daily cases are now at their lowest point since August 6 of this year. This has led Scott Gottlieb, former head of the Food and Drug Administration, to tell the Times that we’re now in the “last major wave of infection.” While no one expects the virus to disappear, some experts say soon we will stop living with a pandemic and start looking at SARS-CoV-2 as endemic. Yonatan Grad, MD, PhD, an associate professor of immunology and infectious diseases at Harvard Medical School, is one of them. In an article published online by the Harvard T.C. Chan School of Public Health, Grad suggested that the virus will continue to circulate for the foreseeable future, though with lower transmission and fewer hospitalizations and deaths. He noted that that’s dependent on a couple of key factors, however. For one, new, unforeseen variants could leave the world in dire straits again. The other factor is partly controllable, however, and consists of seeing continuous growth in the number of people with immunity, by virtue of either vaccination or having contracted and recovered from the virus. Urgent care can contribute to this by continuing to test proactively, encourage vaccination, and educate patients on how to protect themselves and those around them.
COVID-19 May Soon Transition from Pandemic to Endemic—if We Take the Right Steps