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President Biden Says “The Pandemic Is Over”;  a local expert explains and elaborates on the current state of COVID

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Twenty-four hours after President Joe Biden declared the pandemic over, US Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra clarified what he meant.

“I think the president reflected what so many Americans feel and think that COVID has disrupted our lives for so long,” Becerra said. “But we also see that with these effective vaccines, with the masking and the efforts to protect our children, our elderly, we have learned to deal with this virus. But make no mistake, people are still dying. “

More than 400 Americans still die from COVID every day. The overall picture of COVID community levels across the country is mostly “green”, meaning there are currently low levels of transmission.

RELATED: World Health Organization says ‘the end’ of pandemic ‘is in sight’

This CDC map also shows several “red” spots of high levels of transmission primarily in the Midwest, South and Northeast of the country. UCSF infectious disease physician Monica Gandhi said the term “more” isn’t entirely accurate.

“It just means it’s not over in terms of COVID. It just means the emergency phase,” Dr Gandhi said.

Dr. Gandhi followed COVID in European countries as a sign of what the United States should expect and said we need to manage our expectations.

“In fact, the UK has already called COVID less deadly and less virulent than the flu at this point. So that’s just a relative way of speaking. We’ll never get rid of COVID,” said Dr. Gandhi, adding, “There are 29 species of animals that carry COVID and because of that, we will never eradicate COVID.”

RELATED: New COVID-19 booster targets Omicron strains; clinics open at Contra Costa Co.

In California, COVID cases and deaths have been declining since March. ABC7 spoke with the chief of emergency medicine at UCSF’s Parnassus campus to get a clear picture of what she sees every day.

“About four or five months ago we started noticing a change in the severity of the illness. So we still had a number of people coming in, but they just weren’t as sick,” said the Dr Maria Raven.

Both Dr. Raven and Dr. Gandhi attribute this decrease in cases and deaths to vaccines, boosters and pharmaceuticals. Dr. Raven thinks the protocol could also change.

“I think we’re going to have to get to the point where we’re not stopping people from coming to work based on just a COVID test. We’re going to have to look at the bigger picture,” Dr. Raven said.

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