In a recent interview, President Joe Biden proclaimed, “The pandemic is over.” Experts say it’s a “new phase” of COVID-19.
ST PAUL, Minn. — In a recent interview with CBS 60 minutes, President Joe Biden said “we still have a problem with COVID,” and added, “We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.”
This comes after more than 1 million deaths in the U.S. and almost three years of lockdowns and economic disruptions.
“I think COVID has moved to a new stage,” Dr. Jill Foster, with the University of Minnesota. “It’s interesting because everything in public health is a compact between the government and the people,” she said. “And now people need to arm themselves with information.”
In Minnesota, Sept. 6-12 wastewater data results show COVID-19 levels on the rise – with the viral load increasing by 36% compared to a week earlier.
BA.5 accounts for 90% of the viral load and a small amount of the new B.A. 2.75 variant – which is currently being monitored by the World Health Organization.
Dr. Foster, the Director of Pediatrics and Infectious Diseases for the University of Minnesota says it may still be too early to tell if this is the start of a new surge.
“The levels go up and down, lately they’ve been staying flat, so now all of a sudden we have this little blip, so the question is it a little blip that’s a one time thing, or is the beginning of one of those slopes that go up like we had before,” she said.
Last week, the World Health Organization reported new weekly worldwide deaths reached their lowest point in the first week of September since the coronavirus epidemic was declared a pandemic in March 2020 – with WHO’s Director General saying “We are not there yet, but the end is in sight.”
But as the fall and winter months approach, Dr. Foster is urging people to not let their guards down when it comes to COVID-19.
“There’s people whose whole career is just in doing modeling, and they take the data and plug it into algorithms, and what they are predicting is we are going to get another surge in November, just in time for the holidays, but again we have control over that,” she said.
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