Health Officials Say The Coronavirus Will Likely Become Endemic In The Next Seve

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Even as cases continue to decline and more Americans receive their vaccines, the coronavirus isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, health officials say. The nation’s top infectious diseases expert Dr. Anthony Fauci dismissed the idea that COVID-19 would be eradicated in the next several years at a webinar hosted by think tank Chatham House in November. “We need to plan that this is something we may need to maintain control over chronically. It may be something that becomes endemic, that we have to just be careful about,” he said. So, what is an endemic disease and how would COVID-19 become one? Experts say there are multiple endemic diseases in the United States that could foreshadow what the disease caused by the coronavirus may look like in the upcoming years. What does endemic mean? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines endemic as the “constant presence and/or usual prevalence” of a disease within a population in a certain geographic area. An endemic disease spreads at a baseline level every year without causing major  disruption to people's lives, said Dr. Donald Burke, professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. “Things that are endemic are present for long periods of time without interruption, continuously circulating in the population," like the common cold, he said. A disease can be endemic in one country but can be considered an outbreak or an epidemic in another country, explained Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious diseases physician and researcher at the Mayo Clinic. For example, malaria is considered endemic in some parts of the world where mosquitos carry the parasite. However, a high number of malaria cases in the United States would be considered an epidemic if it were not contained.

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