COVID-19 Pandemic Update: Is it Really Over?

Amanda Luzzader

Let’s dive into the latest information about COVID-19, the pandemic, vaccinations, and statistics.

COVID-19 Pandemic Update: Is it Really Over?

You may be in a curious situation with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic—you know lots of people who have contracted the virus recently, and yet you hear people (even those in authority) saying that the pandemic is essentially over. Let’s dive into the latest information about COVID-19, the pandemic, vaccinations, and statistics.

A quick history of the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 stands for “Corona Virus Disease 2019.” It is a “novel” virus, meaning it was previously unknown and is more properly called “SARS-CoV-2.” It was discovered in December 2019 in the Wuhan province of China. The first known lab-confirmed case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 20, 2020, in a resident of the state of Washington who was returning from Wuhan. By January 31, 2020, Wuhan province was under quarantine measures. In February 2020, global air travel was widely restricted. In March 2020, a national emergency was declared in the United States. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic. 

How many people have been infected by COVID-19? How many have died?

According to the statistics available as of this writing, there have been 605 million confirmed, worldwide cases of COVID-19. As of this writing, 6.5 million people have died worldwide from COVID-19 since its discovery in late 2019. Many info sources caution that the death rate of COVID-19 is still being assessed and analyzed. 

What is the status of the COVID-19 pandemic today?

As of this writing, worldwide daily deaths from COVID-19 are being numbered in the hundreds, when only a year ago they were numbered in the thousands. Confirmed cases are likewise down sharply, and in most areas (counties) of the United States, the risk of contracting COVID-19 is considered “low.”

In an interview on the TV show 60 Minutes, U.S. President Joe Biden stated, “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it. But the pandemic is over.” Many medical experts did not wholly agree with this language. A spokesperson for the WHO said this on Sept. 14: “We are not there yet. But the end is in sight.”

The head of Brown University’s School of Public Health, Dr. Megan Ranney had a more empathic response. She said this on Twitter: 

Is the pandemic DIFFERENT? Sure. 

We have vaccines & infection-induced immunity. We have treatments. We have tests (while they last). The fatality rate is way down. And so we respond to it differently. 

But over?! With 400 deaths a day?! 

I call malarkey.

Malarkey or not, the best that can be said is that the virus has moved from a pandemic stage to an endemic stage, meaning that while immunity is rising and the disease is no longer spreading rapidly, it nevertheless remains a widespread health hazard.

What should I do about COVID-19 today?

While there are few public mask mandates, there are still areas where masks are strongly recommended and required. COVID-19 variants are driving most new cases and fatalities. The best thing to do now is get vaccinated and boosted, consult guidance about COVID-19 by the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, wear an approved mask in high-risk areas or situations, and stay home if you have COVID-19 symptoms.


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