Has The Pandemic Turned To An Endemic?

Flu season text in the hands of a female doctor

Photo: Getty Images

The day will come, and hopefully soon, when the “p” word is replaced with the “e” word. I'm referring to the pandemic being replaced with endemic. The more data we receive the more I’m convinced the “pandemic of politicians” clinging to restrictive public policy is a greater threat than the current incarnation of the virus.

While history illustrates pandemics end when benign strains of viruses become the dominant strain, increasingly studies are showing how much less serve omicron is and has been compared to previous strains. A recent study of 70,000 COVID-positive people, split between those infected with the delta variant and those with omicron showed huge differences in outcomes. The big picture takeaways were that Omicron-positive people were 74% less likely to be hospitalized. If hospitalized, the stays were an average of 70% shorter and people were 91% less likely to die.

The summation statement from the authors of the study paints the picture clearly, "Reductions in disease severity associated with Omicron variant infections were evident among both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients, and among those with or without documented prior SARS-CoV-2 infection". Now it’s unlikely you’ll hear it discussed this way, but if the dominant strain of COVID is now at least 74% less severe than its predecessor, that’s a big deal, right? And that begs the question as to what level of reduction in severity needs to be in the eyes of public policymakers before acknowledgment of the pandemic having given way to a new endemic flu bug?

Now that we have this data in hand, these are the types of conversations public policymakers, outside of the free state of Florida, should be having.

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