COVID Is Here to Stay. How Will We Know When It Stops Being Special?
Carolyn Y. Johnson - The Washington Post
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September 13, 2023
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A health-care worker takes a nasal swab at a coronavirus testing center in Los Angeles in August. (Caroline Brehman/EPA-EFE)

New coronavirus variants are making headlines. Photos of positive test results are popping up on social media feeds. Hospitalizations are increasing.

Far from the start of a sensational new chapter in the pandemic, experts say this uptick is the new normal in a world with COVID as an endemic disease. Now, with some level of immunity nearly ubiquitous across the country, many people are wondering when — or if — we can stop treating the coronavirus differently from other common respiratory ailments.

Experts say the answer will vary, depending on people’s individual tolerance for risk and the changing landscape of variants and boosters.

COVID is still a leading cause of death. Doctors have little to offer people who are stricken by the constellation of lingering symptoms known as long COVID. Vigilance is still required to protect high-risk people, including those who are older or who have compromised immune systems.

For some, COVID will never stop being special, and worries mount as they watch more people drop the precautions that help keep vulnerable individuals safe.

“The newer people [just diagnosed] with long COVID are really angry,” said Hannah Davis, a co-founder of the Patient-Led Research Collaborative, who has long COVID. “Everyone’s been told the pandemic is basically over, the risk is basically over if you are vaccinated.”

But many public health experts also point out that there is a middle ground between living in fear of the virus and ignoring its existence.

Read the rest at The Washington Post

Related: Do They Mask? Are They Eating Out? How COVID Experts Are Living Now (The Washington Post)

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