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Pandemic may soon become endemic: Local expert explains

Published: Jan. 20, 2022 at 11:23 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A big question we’ve all been asking about the pandemic is, “When will it be over?”

Are we getting closer to COVID being something like the flu? Here’s what the experts have to say.

“We were basically expecting it to go away. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone away, and it’s going to be here,” said Dr. Rodger MacArthur, infectious disease expert at Augusta University Health.

After a massive nationwide shutdown, a handful of surges, and a multitude of variants later, this is where we are here in Georgia.

“Let’s get it down. Hope this will be the last surge, but we just don’t know,” he said.

Here’s the message from Dr. Anthony Fauci, White House health adviser: “We’re certainly not going to eradicate this. We’ve only eradicated one virus in the history of public health, and that is smallpox.”

But not everything is bad news. Fauci says even though it’s unlikely COVID will ever be gone forever, we could get to a point where it’s not disrupting day-to-day life.

For now, though, AU Health says they’re seeing an extremely high number of positive PCRs in the last couple of weeks.

“Almost 57% were positive. That’s a lot,” said MacArthur.

As at-home tests are shipped out to homes across the country, MacArthur wanted to stress only take a test if you’re showing symptoms. At-home tests are more effective if you’re showing symptoms.

Do more omicron cases mean we’re getting closer to herd immunity?

“We don’t know yet. All health authorities are optimistic, but it’s really hard to predict,” said MacArthur.

Hard to predict, because AU says we don’t know how much immunity omicron will give us, to fight off the next variant. We’re told, there will be a next one.

“As long as it’s alive it’s replicating it’s mutating,” said MacArthur.

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