Despite the fact that Covid-19 cases continue to drop nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's head says that the coronavirus will likely be around for the foreseeable future and could behave in a similar way to influenza.
According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, CDC Director, "I do expect that this will probably be a seasonal disease." It could spread with the flu and other respiratory diseases that are more common in the winter months.
According to an NBC News tally of the U.S., there are currently 49,569 new Covid deaths per day. This is a drop of over 54 percent in just two weeks. Covid-related deaths are also decreasing, with an average of 1,533 per day now, which is a decrease of around a third in the past two weeks.
CDC officials believe that the virus will not disappear despite the positive Covid trends. Instead, it will continue to simmer at low levels and rise during winter months.
Dr. Henry Walke, Director of the CDC's Center for Preparedness and Response, stated that "this virus will likely continue to circulate throughout our society, in the country, and around the globe for years to come." "The next six months and the next year will give us a lot of information about how living with this virus will look."
He said that he hoped the latest surge, which was driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant, would be the "last real large surge from SARS-2."
Walensky cannot guarantee that masks will disappear forever, despite the fact that CDC states that 90% of Americans can remove their masks at this point. This means that masks may one day return to the public.
She said, "I would suggest, you put your masks into a drawer, anticipating that you might need them again, and hope that they don't."
Walensky stated that "we may need to be more vigilant during certain seasons." "Maybe during respiratory seasons, if things got more intense, we would like to put on our masks once again to protect both from the flu and from Covid, as well as from other respiratory diseases."
She also said that it is not clear whether Americans will require additional Covid booster shots in the coming year.
The dominant strain of the virus, the omicron variant, continues to be detected in the U.S. and accounts for over 99 percent of all new cases.
The CDC is still actively searching for new variants and analyzes tens to thousands of genome sequences every week. The agency states that it does not see any evidence of new variants at this time.
Walke stated that he expects to see more variants in the future.
He said, "This virus has shocked us again, and again, and again and again." "We don’t know what the future holds."
Walke said that if there is a new variant, it will be easier for the country to quickly react by testing and reformulating vaccines if necessary.