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May the COVID-19 pandemic finish with this omicron surge because the virus turns endemic? Here’s what consultants say

SAN FRANCISCO — It is “reasonably likely” to anticipate the pandemic to attract to a detailed as quickly as a month from right this moment, although COVID-19 is more likely to keep, in accordance with UCSF’s Chair of the Department of Medicine, Dr. Robert Wachter.

He expects infections to fall and neighborhood immunity ranges to rise from a mix of vaccinations, antiviral treatment and omicron infections because the pandemic enters a brand new section — turning endemic.

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This sentiment is echoed by different infectious illness consultants within the area.

“The end game is really bringing down the virus to low levels where we just live with it. And what omicron will do is bring the virus down to low levels in the community because it’s causing so much immunity,” say Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious ailments physician and Professor of Medicine at UCSF. “It’ll bring it down to a controllable phase, which we call endemicity. So after this surge, we should be in the end game of the pandemic and into endemic.”

“In the next few weeks, we expect that the numbers are going to start to drop off pretty soon in California, and there’s evidence that that’s happening elsewhere also. So what we’re really hoping will happen is to move to a phase where we know that we have to live with this virus,” Professor of Pediatrics (infectious ailments) and of Epidemiology and inhabitants well being at Stanford Medicine, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado says.

All 4 docs interviewed instructed ABC7 News in San Francisco that they imagine the SARS-CoV-2 is right here to remain however expressed cautious optimism that we’re turning a nook for the higher.

“It has to end to become endemic at some point in time, so yes, my guess is that it would be this year. I based that largely what we’re seeing in other countries that are probably more vaccinated than we are. The bottom line is that if we’re going to control transmission, we need to be vaccinated and boosted,” UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford says.

All 4 docs level to vaccinations as the primary pathway to realize endemicity.

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“Out of 1.2 million people in one particular healthcare study who were fully vaccinated, only 36 people in that group died. And there were about 2,500 infections. So it was about a 0.2% rate of infection. So if you are vaccinated, and you are potentially exposed and get infected with omicron, your risk of serious disease, death or other complications is going to be extremely low. So again, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for people to be vaccinated because that is going to be our way out of this pandemic,” says Dr. Maldonado.

“I do think that there’s a chance that we can get rid of the pandemic – meaning large surges of hospitalizations and deaths, and maybe get to a point where we have a circulation of the virus with less hospitalizations and deaths and maybe the same or more infections, but not leading to the bad outcomes. And we’re going to have to learn how to live with that with vaccinations. And we’ll have to learn more about whether we can stop masking at some point later this year. If the disease becomes less severe,” she says.

However, Dr. Wachter says though he can venture a fall in infections with some confidence for the spring and maybe the summer season, he is not as assured to say the identical of the autumn and winter later this 12 months. “A lot of that depends on if there is a new and worse variant.”

He says how a lot immunity from an omicron an infection alone can also be nonetheless unknown. “For unvaccinated people, if their only immunity is from an infection, it really all depends on how good that immunity is and how long it lasts. If it starts waning, and they’re vulnerable again, then we could see another significant surge. But I’m moderately optimistic,” Dr. Wachter says.

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