LANSING, Mich. (MIRS News) – President Joe Biden declared that the COVID-19 pandemic was over during a 60 Minutes interview and Michigan health officials say it’s time to start transitioning out of the pandemic.
“The transition from pandemic to endemic is a process,” said Lynn Sutfin, spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
DHHS reported 16,901 new cases and 147 new deaths from COVID-19 over the last seven days. The average number of cases per day have hovered around 3,700 since the start of 2022 and the average number of deaths per day has been about 32.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sept. 14 that the COVID-19 pandemic end was in sight, but it wasn’t quite there, yet.
“A marathon runner does not stop when the finish line comes into view. She runs harder, with all the energy she has left. We can see the finish line. We’re in a winning position, but now is the worst time to stop running,” Ghebreyesus said.
Sutfin said COVID-19 is expected to take on more of a seasonal pattern, like the flu, but the health department remains ready to take on any surges related to colder weather or new variants.
“We expect that there are going to be future waves of infection, potentially at different time points throughout the world caused by different subvariants of omicron or even different variants of concern,” said WHO COVID-19 Technical Lead Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove.
Van Kerkhove said the virus is still circulating in the world and the reported numbers are likely underestimated.
Sutfin said the drugs and vaccines that are available now, including over-the-counter testing, can reduce the risk of death and long-term damage.
She also recommended staying up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, getting the flu shot and keeping a supply of COVID-19 tests and masks at home.
“In Michigan and across the country, we are learning to live with COVID-19,” Sutfin said.