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Jun 11, 2021

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2021 - 09:06:14

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.”

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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.

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“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.

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“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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UFC Vegas 29 betting preview: Best bets for The Korean Zombie vs. Dan Ige

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LAS VEGAS — Dan Ige is the UFC’s eighth-ranked featherweight, and he’s won seven of his last eight fights heading into Saturday’s main event at Apex against Chan Sung Jung, aka the Korean Zombie.

Jung is 3-3 in his last six and was finished by Brian Ortega in his last outing, on Oct. 20.

At BetMGM, it’s essentially a pick ’em fight, with Jung a -115 favorite and Ige at -105.

If there is a difference between the two, though, it’s finishing ability. Ige knocked out Gavin Tucker in just 22 seconds into his last fight, on March 13 at Apex, ending a streak of four consecutive fights that ended in a decision. In his last 10 fights, six of them have gone to decision.

That’s in stark contrast to Jung, who lost by decision to Ortega, one of only two fights to go to decision in the last 11 years. For Jung, it’s almost as if his creed is finish or be finished.

Ige is 15-3 and has never been finished, his losses coming by decision to Calvin Kattar, Julio Arce and Taichi Nakajima. He’s faced some notable finishers in that time, most significantly Edson Barboza.

But unlike Barboza, whose threat comes mainly via his brutally vicious kicks, Jung is an equal opportunity finisher. He has a wide arsenal of submissions in his repertoire and he’s a powerful striker.

That’s what leads me to pick him to defeat Ige. He has more weapons than Ige, a collegiate wrestler who developed into a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt as well as a strong striker.

But he’s never faced anyone with the skillset of Jung. And given that Jung goes for it so often, there is no safe place for Ige. Ige could use his wrestling to get the fight to the ground and negate Jung’s striking power, but then he will have to defend Jung’s submission attempts.

Jung’s not a fighter to ride it out and look to coast to the end.

BetMGM doesn’t have its prop bets up, but I would bet this one to end inside the distance. It’s hard to survive 25 minutes in the cage with Jung.

I will lay the -115 on Jung to win, and I’ll also bet the fight does not go the distance.

Other plays for UFC Vegas 29
  • Davey Grant +165 to win over Chito Vera.

  • Sergey Spivak -230 to defeat Alexei Oleinik.

  • Virna Jandiroba -145 to defeat Kanako Murata.

  • Joaquim Silva-Rick Glenn fight to end inside the distance.

© Provided by Yahoo! Sports Chan Sung Jung lost a unanimous decision to Brian Ortega on Oct. 18, 2020 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

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