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Officials say COVID-19 should be considered an endemic

An endemic disease is a disease or condition regularly found among particular people in a certain area
The COVID-19 pandemic should now be called an endemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic should now be called an endemic.
Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:56 PM MDT
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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Officials say COVID-19 is not going to end. In the Department of Health and Welfare’s weekly COVID-19 meeting, health officials say the pandemic should now be called an endemic, meaning we must learn to live with the virus.

As we head into the 19th month of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with cases higher than they ever have been, it feels as though the virus is never going away. According to the Department of Health and Welfare, it isn’t.

“And sadly I’m here to tell you that we’ve lost the war, that COVID is here to stay,” said Doctor Nemerson, the chief clinical officer at St. Alphonsus.

An endemic is a disease or condition regularly found among particular people in a certain area.

Now, the COVID-19 virus has become just that.

“The reason it is here to stay is because we cannot vaccinate enough of the public to fully eradicate the disease,” said Dr. Nemerson.

The state of Idaho has the third-lowest vaccination rates in the country, and reaching herd immunity is a very long way off, making it possible for the virus to mutate into different strains again and again.

“It doesn’t appear likely that it is going to go away,” said Dr. Hahn, the state medical director. “It is very likely going to continue to circulate and we can only hope that over time it will become (a) milder and more tolerable virus if you will. Kind of like some of the more seasonal coronaviruses are now.”

Officials want to remind everyone that with the holiday season coming up to stay healthy not just for you, but for the people around you.

“The toll it has taken for almost two years now is tremendous,” said Dr. Elke Shaw-Tulloch, the administrator of public health. “We are in crisis standards of care. We continue to see a mounting death toll. In addition, our schools are facing schools as evident by schools opening and closing and then opening in order to address COVID in school settings.”

“It’s a repeat of the same message you’ve been hearing which is vaccinate, mask, distance, and hand hygiene,” said Dr. Nemerson.

Later this week, the Food and Drug Administration is considering approving the Pfizer vaccine for ages 5 through 11 as well as discussing booster shots for Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. KMVT will provide updates as they become available.

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