‘We’re Not Going To Normal 2019’: Experts Offer Roadmap For Next Covid Steps
A group of public health experts released a report for pandemic-weary Americans suggesting the next course. While advocating for treating covid like other high-risk respiratory illnesses, they outline scenarios for how that shift could play out. Other news outlets take stock after two years of the coronavirus.
A Roadmap To Get From The Covid Pandemic To The 'Next Normal'
A new report released Monday charts a path for the transition out of the Covid-19 pandemic, one that outlines both how the country can deal with the challenge of endemic Covid disease and how to prepare for future biosecurity threats. The report plots a course to what its authors call the “next normal” — living with the SARS-CoV-2 virus as a continuing threat that needs to be managed. Doing so will require improvements on a number of fronts, from better surveillance for Covid and other pathogens to keeping tabs on how taxed hospitals are; and from efforts to address the air quality in buildings to continued investment in antiviral drugs and better vaccines. The authors also call for offering people sick with respiratory symptoms easy access to testing and, if they are positive for Covid or influenza, a quick prescription for the relevant antiviral drug. (Branswell, 3/7)
The CDC Explains How You Should Approach The Next Phase Of The Pandemic
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says more than 90% of Americans can now consider removing their masks while indoors. The Atlanta-based public health agency updated its mask guidance this week citing data that tracks community wide spread of COVID-19 by county. The announcement came after many states allowed their indoor mask mandates to expire. The CDC's new advice does not apply to every locale or scenario. The Transportation Security Administration's federal mask mandate for traveling by commercial aircraft, bus, and rail systems remains in place but is set to expire on March 18. (Zubrow, 3/6)
In related news —
Death Toll Nears 6 Million As Pandemic Enters Its 3rd Year
The official global death toll from COVID-19 is on the verge of eclipsing 6 million — underscoring that the pandemic, now entering its third year, is far from over. The milestone is the latest tragic reminder of the unrelenting nature of the pandemic even as people are shedding masks, travel is resuming and businesses are reopening around the globe. The death toll, compiled by Johns Hopkins University, stood at 5,999,158 as of Monday midday. (Rising, 3/7)
Charts Paint A Grim Picture 2 Years Into The Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic is now stretching into its third year, a grim milestone that calls for another look at the human toll of covid-19, and the unsteady progress in containing it. These charts tell various aspects of the story, from the deadly force of the disease and its disparate impact to the signs of political polarization and the United States’ struggle to marshal an effective response. (Jacobson, 3/7)
The Burden Of COVID Is Shifting To The Global South
Americans, by and large, are putting the pandemic behind them. Now that Omicron is in the rearview mirror and cases are plummeting, even many of those who have stayed cautious for two full years are spouting narratives about “going back to normal” and “living with COVID-19.” This mentality has also translated into policy: The last pandemic restrictions are fading nationwide, and in his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, President Joe Biden declared that “most Americans can remove their masks, return to work, stay in the classroom, and move forward safely.” Other rich, highly vaccinated countries are following much the same path. In the U.K., for example, those with COVID-19 no longer have to self-isolate. It helps that these countries have more vaccine doses than they know what to do with, and a stockpile of tools to test and treat their residents if and when they get sick. (Sam-Agudu, Kabisen Titanji, Okumu and Pai, 3/4)
Watch: California’s Top Health Adviser On Learning To Live With Covid
Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of California’s massive Health and Human Services Agency, continues to wear a mask in grocery stores and will dine outside — but not indoors — at restaurants even as California, like much of the nation, has lifted its mask mandate and many other pandemic restrictions. This was among the topics explored March 4 as KHN Senior Correspondent Samantha Young met with Ghaly for a wide-ranging 30-minute interview hosted by the Sacramento Press Club. Young spoke with Ghaly, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s top health adviser, about the administration’s plans for moving forward as covid case rates and hospitalizations ebb. Vaccines, testing, and masking are all part of the governor’s strategy, Ghaly said, as covid becomes endemic and Californians learn to live with the virus. (3/7)