2 years after the first case: Will we ever see an endemic?


A business informs its patrons on their mask policy. Photo courtesy of NBC Chicago.

Erica Van Gorden, Views Editor

After 2 years of being in the COVID-19 pandemic, some scientists and experts believe there might be an end to the “pandemic” status. With the use of the vaccine and boosters given globally, experts strongly believe that COVID-19 will not be considered a “pandemic” and will instead transfer over to the “endemic” status, in the coming months of 2022.

Since February 13, 2022, 54.5% of the population is fully vaccinated and 15.3% have gotten the booster shot. There have been a total of 10.4 billion doses given worldwide. Aubree Gordon, an infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor at the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan said in a CNBC article, “More vaccinations will help decrease the amount of severe cases, hospitalizations and deaths, signaling the beginning of COVID’s transition to endemic”.

Experts, scientists, and doctors say the first step to begin the transition into an endemic is more of the population becoming vaccinated.

Though people can still get COVID with the vaccine, it helps protect against serious illness and death and allows the immune system to develop immunity. If cases are less severe, hospitalization numbers will also decrease.

In early December, Bill Gates said in his blog post, “I’m still hopeful that, at some point next year, COVID-19 will become an endemic disease in most places. Although it is currently about 10 times more lethal than flu, vaccines
and antivirals could cut that number by half or more.” In his post he continued to explain how though COVID may never disappear, with the vaccine and future progress COVID will become less serious and more seasonal like the flu.

Living in an endemic environment will still mean taking precautions to protect yourself and others from COVID. You will still be advised to stay home if you are sick and masks should be worn in months when COVID is in season. Washing your hands regularly and social distancing is suggested when in high contact and busy areas. Annual COVID boosters may also become a thing.

While new strains of COVID continue to be discovered, annual boosters will be designed to fight off the dominant variant. COVID is still in its pandemic stage however, getting vaccinated and continuing to follow precautions is the solution experts and scientist believe to transition into an endemic.