Microbiologist considers how to know that COVID-19 is becoming endemic
Microbiologist considers how to know that COVID-19 is becoming endemic

Microbiologist considers how to know that COVID-19 is becoming endemic

Many Americans take off their masks now that new infections are with them COVID-19 omicron variant plunger.

Still, microbiologist Amber Schmidtke, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Science and Mathematics at the University of Saint Mary, says she will continue to carry her KN95 in public, indoor environmentas a way to protect herself and vulnerable people around her.

“Because there are many immunocompromised people in and around us, and these people still have a very high risk of the complications that can come with getting COVID-19, even though they have been vaccinated and boosted,” Schmidtke says. “Since we do not know by looking at a person can see if they are immunocompromised, it makes sense to continue wearing masks if you are in an overloaded indoor space.”


With declining cases, Schmidtke says, the risk of becoming infected is declining, at least for now.

“The risk is much lower after we have these waves because we have a built-in, temporary form of herd immunity afterwards,” she says. “So you want to see this break in illness that happens in between, and it’s really time, if you’re someone who’s postponed a major operation, or something like that, planned. “

It is also a good time, she says, for parents to get their children caught up on their routine vaccinations.


“For most of us, I do not think it’s a license to go out and live your best life without any precautions, but you can afford to take more risks than you could have had a month ago,” Schmidtke says.

So what about booster shots?

Do fully vaccinated people still need an extra shotif new infections are declining?

“It’s, of course, an individual choice,” Schmidtke says. “I will always encourage the vaccine, just because it gives your immune system just one more exercise to recognize the bite and respond to it. We have seen re-infections happen. Even if you get infected before, you get infected another time. So we “do not know how long that immunity lasts. That’s another reason to consider getting a booster if you have not got it.”

That US Food and Drug Administration monitors pandemic data from across the United States and the world to determine if another booster shot should be recommended along the way.

“I fully expect that we will need regular boosters, just as we do with the flu vaccine,” says Schmidtke.

She also believes the United States should be prepared for yet another increase.

“I think it would probably happen in the summer,” Schmidtke says. “This virus seems to work in a cycle twice a year, (in winter and) in summer, when the climate is unpleasant enough for people to tend to congregate inside. So I would not be surprised if we see something again this summer. “

One question she has thought a lot about, she says, is when do we know we are on the other side of the pandemic.

“If we can get out of the summer without a hike, if we can make it through the next holiday season without a hike, then I think we’re talking about putting this a little behind us,” Schmidtke says. “But, unfortunately, what we’ve seen is that each subsequent wave appears to be larger than the one that preceded it. So we’re not on the downhill hill when it comes to the overall cadence of the pandemic.”

That federal mask requirement for air passengers and other travelers are set to expire on March 18, 2022.

That Biden administration has not stated whether it will extend the claim or allow it to lapse as cases fall.


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