COVID-19 will become a ‘seasonal virus’, the CDC director expects
COVID-19 will become a ‘seasonal virus’, the CDC director expects

COVID-19 will become a ‘seasonal virus’, the CDC director expects

Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she expects COVID-19 becomes a seasonal virus.

“I expect this is likely to be a seasonal virus,” she told NBC News on Monday.

Walensky also told the network that Americans should expect to have to wear face masks again, hoping they are not always necessary.

The agency moved to loosen mask restrictions for large parts of the United States late last month.

“We might want to be more vigilant for some seasons,” she noted. “Maybe in the respiratory season, if things went up, we would want to put on our masks again to protect both against the flu and against COVID and against all other respiratory diseases.”

Image of an iHealth at home Covid-19 fast antigen test provided free of charge by US Postal Service. Photographer: Angus Mordant / Bloomberg / Getty Images

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the United States reported 67,516 new cases of coronavirus and 1,686 new deaths.

These figures are markedly down from the January increase in the omicron variant – although the CDC data show the variant still accounts for 99.9% of new cases.

Walensky said it remained unclear whether people will need additional COVID-19 booster shots over the next year.

In a reversal of the UN agency’s previous position, a group of experts convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that it “strongly supports acute and broad access” to booster doses.

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In a statement, the organization said its group concluded that immunization with approved COVID-19 vaccines provides high levels of protection against serious disease and death, with boosters especially important for those at risk of serious illness.

Last year, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for a moratorium on booster doses citing vaccine inequality.

The CDC reports that 95.3 million Americans have received a booster dose.

The WHO said it continues to monitor the spread of omicron and the emergence of new variants, where vaccines are likely to be updated in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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