Think the COVID threat is over? It's not for these people
Declarations and loosened restrictions aside, for millions of Americans COVID is still a major concern.
Who are they? The many who are immunocompromised, chronically ill, or struggling with long COVID.
What's the big deal? For those who are at higher risk from COVID, the end of the public health emergency doesn't mean they can let their guard down against the coronavirus.
Want more on policy changes? Listen to Consider This explore what comes after the Biden administration ends title 42.
What are people saying?
The White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, spoke with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly last week and said "a country can't be in emergency mode forever." But also stressed that there were still risks.
It's still a real problem. I mean, people often ask me, you know, is this now like the flu? And I'm like, no, it's like COVID. It is a different virus. Flu has a very specific seasonality to it. That's not what we see yet with COVID. Even at 150 deaths a day, which is way below where it was — even if today is the new standard, that's 50,000 deaths a year. I think that should be unacceptable to us. So I see COVID as an ongoing threat, a real challenge to the health and well-being of the American people. And, you know, we know how to defeat this thing, but we've got to keep pressing. And we've got to build better vaccines and better treatments to make sure that we get even more and more effective over time.
COVID long-hauler Semhar Fisseha, 41, told NPR about her experience.
Now there's kind of, like, a stop button happening to it. Like, OK, we're done with this public health emergency. But there are thousands of people that are still left dealing with the impact of it.
A lot of long-haulers were mild — managed it at home, so they're not going to be captured. New long-haulers will not be captured [in data tracking].
So, what now?
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