The Huntsville doctor explains what it takes for COVID-19 to become endemic
The Huntsville doctor explains what it takes for COVID-19 to become endemic

The Huntsville doctor explains what it takes for COVID-19 to become endemic

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Some in the medical community say the COVID-19 pandemic may be moving toward an “endemic phase.” An infectious disease physician in Huntsville explains what endemic is and discusses whether it is too early to start using that term.

This month marks two years since COVID-19 was classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization.
Huntsville Infectious Diseases Physician Ali Hassoun explains three different disease classifications, epidemic, pandemic, and endemic. He says the classification of epidemics is not just reserved for infectious diseases.

“For example, there is epidemic of obesity or epidemic of certain infections that you see, but the disease you see it in certain localized areas, not everywhere and in certain parts of the country,” Hassoun said.

He says there have been several pandemics over the last few hundred years, including the black plague, the Spanish flu, H1N1 and now COVID-19.

“The moment that disease spreads more, which means it’s growing really fast, it’s out of control, but there are no limits to it,” Hassoun explained. “It spread and a lot of people said it would really be more than one country and several territories. So we call it a pandemic.”

He says that when a disease is in an endemic stage, it is more predictable in terms of understanding symptoms, signs and being able to control it.

“Endemic is more defined as there is a specific disease or infectious disease that is localized to a specific area and it is predictable one can see outbreaks to and from, but it is not very, very loud,” Hassoun said.

This week, Moderna’s CEO said COVID-19 is entering the endemic phase of the northern hemisphere. In February, the California governor announced that the state is taking an endemic approach to the virus, the first state to take such a step.

Hassoun currently says he would not use the term ‘endemic’ for status COVID-19.

“I think it’s a little too early to describe it as an endemic,” Hassoun said. “COVID continues to have widespread problems, it’s still unpredictable because we do not know if it has mutated or changed.”

He says the road ahead may go a few different paths and doctors will closely monitor the next six months.

“If this problem develops into an endemic, or we continue to have problems every few months. Or you hope and pray, no, it will eventually disappear as we get better immunity, vaccination, that the virus gets better with time, time will tell, he says.

He says a few different factors may help shape the future of COVID-19, specifically to mention viral behavior, human behavior, and the environment.

“How will it continue to mutate? Will it be more resistant? Will it spread more, or on the other hand, if it mutates and becomes ineffective,” he said.

When it comes to human behavior, he expressed the importance of immunity.

“We wanted people to be vaccinated as much as possible. We wanted people to try to help us with prevention as much as possible. And it has proved very, very difficult to do that, ”Hassoun explained. He said there are ways to control the environment to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Schools, companies, shops, do you know how good our ventilation system is? How well we follow the rules indoors, ”he said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization continue to refer to COVID-19 as a pandemic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.