Experts say the Novel Coronavirus emergency could end this year.What would it look like?


On the brink of the third year of the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, the United States is using the Omicron variant to combat the largest viral surge to date.Even if cases are retreating in some places, they are near record levels.The daily death toll, though lower than last winter’s peak, still averages more than 2,000 nationwide.Despite the fierce battles over masks and vaccines, in many ways life seemed normal — children were at school, people were at work, and large indoor parties and events were taking place.So, as hard as it may be to imagine, many experts believe that 2022 could be the year when Novel Coronavirus becomes endemic, meaning that it always spreads in the population, but at a very low rate, or just causes seasonal outbreaks.At a press conference on Wednesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the NATION’s top infectious disease expert, said the United States can “sufficiently control” novel Coronavirus so that it does not disrupt our society, does not dominate our lives and does not prevent us from doing what we normally do in normal survival.”That’s because as people become immune, the virus will start running out of people to infect, and mitigation measures such as wearing masks and testing will be taken if they have symptoms.We have tools for vaccines, boosters, masks, testing and antiviral drugs, Fauci said.As an endemic disease, COVID-19 will move from a global health emergency to a virus that the world has learned to live with.Public health experts say many social changes are needed at a time when the virus is spreading but less destructive, such as targeted testing, more vaccinations, better treatment and allowances to stay home when sick.”We really need to shift our thinking to how to catch this virus rather than make it disappear completely.”Timothy Brewer, a professor of epidemiology at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, told ABC News.So I think we need to move into a mode of minimising the health, economic and social damage of the virus – recognising that this virus will be there.People who are sick will be advised to stay home or wear masks in public when the virus does circulate, experts say people will be told not to go to school or work while sick, but to stay home, unlike before the outbreak.If you have to leave your home, it may still be common to wear masks on public transport or in indoor Spaces.The doctor said that if you were sick, you would stay home and it would become a culture.Wafaa el-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology and medicine at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told ABC News.”Don’t come to work, don’t go to school, don’t send your kids to school.People will understand more about our collective responsibility to each other.”Currently, federal law does not require employers to provide paid sick leave to employees, although some states, including California, New York and Washington, do require it.Antiviral drugs may become more common in doctors’ offices and hospitals In addition to vaccines, some antiviral therapies from Pfizer and Merck have become available in the past few months, especially for those who have tested positive or have recently developed symptoms.Studies have shown that these antiviral drugs can help prevent hospitalizations, especially for those at high risk of serious illness.Experts stressed that even after the emergency phase is over, antivirals should not be seen as a replacement for vaccines, but as an additional layer of protection, especially for high-risk groups.Brown University public health researcher Abdulah Shihpar told ABC News that the distribution of antiviral drugs is important to ensure that immunocompromised people and people with disabilities receive this protection.Brewer agreed and said he thinks the treatments for COVID-19 will be similar to HIV because they will get better and better over time.’The disease rate is as high today as it was 40 years ago, but the difference is that we have very effective treatments, we have excellent anti-viral drugs for HIV,’ he said.So I think with the advent of antiviral drugs, they will play a very important role in fighting novel Coronavirus.Shihpar said he wants the federal government to come up with a long-term distribution plan, whether that means people can sign up for a plan to get cheap subsidized drugs, set them up in pharmacies, deliver them to rural areas and so on.Testing will be more strategic, such as screening people for symptoms. Currently, the US has a model based on two tests: diagnosing symptomatic people to see if they are positive for the Novel Coronavirus, and prophylaxis for asymptomatic people to make sure they are not infected until they participate in activities or meet other people.But in a more seasonal world of novel coronavirus viruses, experts say the country will have to shift to more targeted testing, with a particular focus on symptoms.’Now we’re testing just to test everyone,’ says El-Sadr. ‘It should be more focused.'”For people with symptoms, it’s a good idea to definitely get tested if you have symptoms.So I think it’s going to be very important to focus on asymptomatic people.”According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 1.7 million tests are currently performed in the United States every day.At its peak, experts say at least two million will be needed to meet demand.In some cases, supplies have been in short supply as manufacturers have ramped up production of home tests and Omicron has redefined infection levels in the country.El-sadr also said the test could be used for specific high-risk activities, such as indoor meals with unvaccinated family members or social gatherings with immunosuppressed people, rather than those typically used for indoor gatherings.Brewer believes the testing programs currently in place at schools, such as pre-return testing and then weekly testing, won’t work in the long run.He said it was too cumbersome, expensive and slow logistically and financially.Given that we know that up to 40% or more of the population may be asymptomatic when infected, and we know that asymptomatic people can spread the disease, we just need to operate on the assumption that anyone could be infected, and do hand hygiene and vaccinations, rather than relying on testing strategies.Better workplace and school ventilation standards can be implemented Experts say improving indoor air quality will be one of the most important tasks, especially as countries begin to roll back mandates and mitigation measures.Ensuring that indoor air is recirculated will reduce case rates and prevent outbreaks.The Occupational Safety and Health Administration set health care environmental standards (now expired) that need to be extended to all workplaces, Shihpar said.”We need to change the way we handle indoor air, like how we properly ventilate those Spaces — not just for Novel Coronavirus, but for influenza and all other diseases,” he said.How can we make the air cleaner and thus reduce the spread of disease?He continued, “We need OSHA’s emergency temporary workplace standards.One that, for all workers, actually oversees the employer to make their workplace safe in terms of ventilation and volume.”Shihpar added that he would like to see the government provide a certain number of portable air filters for each teacher’s room and the government, as well as clear air conditioning standards for school districts.In a world where viruses circulate to keep antibody levels high, an annual Novel Coronavirus vaccine, like the flu vaccine, could become a reality, experts say.They can even adapt to resistant variants, though the flu vaccine is made to be resistant, and researchers think the flu vaccine will be the most dominant strain.Brewer says that will depend on two factors: how long immunity lasts after vaccination and how much the virus changes.

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