A former member of President Biden’s coronavirus by the name of Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel has warned that COVID-19 could become something we have to “learn to live with.” During a recent appearance on NBC’s Meet The Press, Emanuel indicated that vaccines and new treatments could push the virus toward endemic status such as the flu did.
“We think that over the course of 2022, we will get to an endemic stage, and the plan is — or the proposal is — we need a strategic plan for that, that covers vaccines, getting more people vaccinated, and the only way to do that, as we’ve been very clear over time, is mandates,” Emanuel said, according to Deadline.
“Be prepared when COVID is really just in the air, like RSV, another respiratory virus, like influenza, like adenovirus, all the respiratory viruses. It’s going to be here. We’re going to learn to live with it.”
While Emanuel feels that COVID-19 could become something we have to live with, other health organizations feel differently. Recently, the World Health Organization issued a warning, urging people not to view the current pandemic as an endemic.
“We still have a huge amount of uncertainty and a virus that is evolving quite quickly, imposing new challenges,” WHO Senior Emergency Officer Catherine Smallwood told Axios.
“We are certainly not at the point where we are able to call it endemic. It may become endemic in due course, but pinning that down to 2022 is a little bit difficult at this stage.”
Despite the number of COVID-19 cases tops 300 million and hospitalizations reach record levels in the U.S., some world leaders are pushing back against the likes of Smallwood and WHO. Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is hoping to move his country away from a COVID-19 like tracking system and more toward a flu like tracking system in 2022.
“I believe that we have the conditions for, with precaution, slowly, opening the debate … to start evaluating the evolution of this disease with different parameters than we have until now,” Sanchez said, according to Axios.
Still, Smallwood is not moving off of her stance.
“All of this of course depends on how we respond to it. Widespread vaccination uptake … will be very, very key in moving toward such a scenario,” she explained.
“We’re still a way off that.”