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Jun 11, 2021

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 - 09:14:28

When Will The Pandemic End?

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As COVID-19 vaccinations rise, case counts, hospitalizations and deaths have fallen. So, 15 months after the pandemic started, people are beginning to ask: When will it end? Good Question.

“This is not going to have a definitive ending that we sometimes see with outbreaks,” said Jan Malcom, Minnesota’s Commissioner of Health.

“It’s a global phenomenon.”

It was March 11, 2020, when the World Health Organization officially declared the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the WHO, the declaration is a way to characterize an outbreak, but it holds no official meaning. It will no longer be considered a pandemic when the worldwide spread stops.

When WCCO posed this Good Question to people walking Bde Maka Ska on Wednesday, the answers ranged from “no idea” to “the end of the year” to “we’re acting like it is.”

Respiratory therapist Ayantu Hassan said most people already think it’s over, but not her.

“We’re still dealing with COVID patients,” Hassan said.

University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm calls pandemics worldwide epidemics – they occur not just one region, but worldwide.

“The challenge we have when declaring a pandemic over is that, in it of itself, it doesn’t really, in a sense, end,” he said, comparing it to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in the 1980s. “HIV/AIDS didn’t go away, it just became an everyday normally expected problem. At that point, it no longer held it’s pandemic status, because there wasn’t an outbreak around the world. It was what you expected.”

In the U.S., Malcolm says vaccination will be key to feeling like the pandemic isn’t ruling people’s lives. Both state and federal officials are striving for a benchmark of 70% vaccination of American adults.

When asked if reaching that 70% threshold gets the U.S. closer to the end, Malcolm responded that it’s an important milestone.

“We want to get beyond 70%, but that’s a good amount of protection that gives the virus less place to go and less places to continue to spin off these variants that have to be the thing that we guard against,” she said.

Experts say variants are an important component of how and when this pandemic will end, given the global reach of the virus and far lower vaccination rates in many countries outside the United States.

“We’re seeing new strains of the virus which can reduce the protection of the vaccines,” says Osterholm. “As long as transmission continues around the world, we will be at risk of these variants, or these mutated viruses, so our status today may not be the same status we have tomorrow.”

Malcolm says there are some specific metrics that help state officials determine “caution” levels of virus spread and transmission. Those metrics include the percentage of tests coming back positive, cases per 100,000 people and hospitalizations per 100,000 people. The state of Minnesota just recently fell below caution levels for each of these metrics.

“We do really want to see these measures stay stable for a few weeks before we really feel it’s going to stay at that level,” says Malcolm.

Though it’s up to the WHO to officially declare an end to a pandemic, people across the world have different definitions of what “over” means.

One Minneapolis resident asked, “Is it ending here in the states – to where life gets back to normal? Is it ending worldwide where travel gets back to normal. Is it all countries? And, then it is going to end for good or is it going to come back?”

She added, “I think everyone will get to their own individual endpoint at their own individual timeline.”

Malcolm says an important point to remember is that experts believe the virus won’t ever go away. She says it’s likely that cases will once again rise this fall in the U.S., but many Americans now have been vaccinated and medical professionals have better treatments for COVID.

“We would consider it to be in a different state – not an epidemic, but endemic,” she says. “Something that’s always there and needs to continue to be managed.”

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Tags: around the nation around the world to continue these variants good question the pandemic malcolm says the virus minnesota is it ending an important an outbreak

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England set up Germany showdown and it’s time to end years of tears since ’66 cheers

SINCE a certain match in 1966, England have faced the Germans four times in the knockout stages of a major tournament — and been defeated every time.

So while this may not be a vintage German team, and while England are eight places higher than their old foes in the Fifa rankings, there was a sense of national dread when Joachim Low’s men were confirmed as England’s last-16 opponents.

7England have not beaten Germany in the knockout stages of the tournament since 1966Credit: Getty - Contributor 7The Three Lions have been defeated four times by their rivals in elite competition since football last came homeCredit: Getty Images - Getty

If England play the match, rather than the occasion of a great historic rivalry, those rankings suggest Gareth Southgate’s men should win.

But England played the occasion rather than the match in their God-awful goalless draw against Scotland last Friday, so they must learn from that experience.

Because, as it is Germany, we are gripped by a fear of history repeating itself.

As defending world champions in Mexico in 1970, England tossed away a 2-0 lead to lose to West Germany in the quarter-finals — Gordon Banks suffering food poisoning and Peter Bonetti having a stinker in goal.

Then, those two penalty shootout defeats which abruptly halted the oh-so-nearly golden summers of Italia 90 and Euro 96.

England had played very well in both 1-1 draws, only for Stuart Pearce, Chris Waddle and Southgate to be cast as the fall guys, Germany scoring ten spot-kicks out of ten past Peter Shilton and David Seaman.

Most recently, Fabio Capello’s England were hammered 4-1 by Low’s Germany in Bloemfontein at the 2010 World Cup — at the same last-16 stage as next Tuesday’s Wembley meeting.

You may recall the Frank Lampard ‘ghost goal’ which crashed against the underside of the bar and fell way over the line, only to be missed by a myopic Uruguayan linesman.


That would have made it 2-2 just before half-time.

Yet England were played off the park for the vast majority of that match — a young Mesut Ozil instrumental in a performance that exposed the rigid stodginess of England’s 4-4-2 formation.

There has been one English win at a tournament since 1966 — a 1-0 group-stage victory at Euro 2000, where both teams were eliminated before the knockout stages.

Although, later that year, the Germans won the final international match at the old Wembley in a World Cup qualifier, forcing manager Kevin Keegan to quit in the toilets.

7England tossed away a 2-0 lead to lose to West Germany in the quarter-finals in 1972Credit: DPA/Press Association Images 7Penalty shoot-out defeats cost the Three Lions at both Italia 1990 and Euro 96 on home soilCredit: Bob Thomas Sports Photography - Getty

The Germans rebooted their entire national football strategy after 2000.

While the English appointed Sven-Goran Eriksson and headed down the Posh and Becks WAGs circus approach instead.

During Eriksson’s honeymoon period in 2001, the Swede presided over England’s second-greatest victory over the Germans — an astonishing World Cup qualifying victory in Munich — ‘Five-one, even Heskey scored!’

And yet Germany reached the final of that World Cup, while England went home at the quarter-final stage, as they always did under Eriksson.

Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

There have been two more English wins on German soil this century — most memorably a comeback from 2-0 down to win 3-2 in Berlin under Roy Hodgson in the build-up to Euro 2016. But we all know how that tournament ended for the Three Lions.

Still, this time could be different. England have conceded just one goal in nine games and the Germans went into this tournament in some disarray.

Low announced the Euros would be the end of his 15-year reign and the team is certainly in transition.

Germany were beaten at home by North Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier in March and had been handed a 6-0 gubbing by Spain in the Nations League last autumn.


Yet there is an old adage that the Germans always get their act together at a tournament — often, but not always, true as they were eliminated in the group stages of the last World Cup.

And after a narrow 1-0 defeat by France in their Euros opener, an impressive 4-2 victory over reigning champions Portugal hinted that there could yet be a glorious last hurrah for Low.

The Germans boast three Chelsea Champions League winners in Kai Havertz, who scored the winner against Manchester City in Porto, Timo Werner and that teak-tough defender, Antonio Rudiger.

Old hands such as Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos and the restored Thomas Muller — all veterans of the 2014 World Cup triumph — will give them the edge over England in terms of big-match experience.

But, for once, England will not head into this grudge match as underdogs.

They will have home advantage, a higher ranking, a meaner defence and the most potent striker on the pitch in Harry Kane.

7Frank Lampard's 'ghost goal' cost England against Germany at the World Cup in 2010Credit: Getty Images - Getty Most read in Euro 2020SHARP SHOOTEREuro 2020 top scorers: Who is leading in race for Golden Boot?WHAT THE BUCHFrance fans accidentally head to Romania after mixing up Budapest & Bucharestout for revengePortugal vs France FREE: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time, team newshungary for successGermany vs Hungary FREE: Live stream, TV channel, kick-off time, teamsPicturedJUL IN THE CROWNJulian Draxler and stunning girlfriend relax on boat after Euro 2020 snubCHIL WELLMount & Chilwell will have private training & meals made by Spice Girls' chef

The Germans certainly have recent footballing history on their side.

But next Tuesday teatime, as a nation skives off work early, Southgate’s men need to swallow the words of Henry Ford — ‘history is more or less bunk’.

Tweet @davekidd_

7 Germany fight back to draw 2-2 with Hungary to set up Euro 2020 England last 16 knockout clash

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