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Jun 11, 2021

Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021 - 03:59:48

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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Niners Kittle Disses Tim Tebow With High-Profile Snub

Getty George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers.

George Kittle, the San Francisco 49ers‘ All-Pro tight end, is partnering with former NFL player Greg Olson to host the inaugural class at Tight End University this week in Nashville, Tennessee.

However, one high-profile player at the position is not on the guest list.

Kittle appeared on the popular Pardon My Take podcast Monday, June 21, where he was asked about those who will be in attendance. The hosts of the show were particularly interested in whether or not Tim Tebow, former NFL quarterback and current tight end hopeful for the Jacksonville Jaguars, would be invited to participate. The answer might upset the diehard Tebow truthers who remain devoted to the polarizing and iconic football figure.


Tight End University feat. Greg Olsen & George KittleThe Process is officially dead. Ben Simmons is afraid to shoot a basketball. Nets/Bucks Game 7 was an all time great. Suns keep rolling. Hockey talk and US Open recap. Who's back of the week. Greg Olsen and George Kittle join the show to talk about Tight End University, respecting Tight Ends, Tebow as a…2021-06-21T23:48:35Z

“I wish nothing but the best for Tim Tebow, and I hope he has a fantastic season playing tight end, but it’s hard for me not to invite a backup tight end on, let’s say the New York Giants, as opposed to inviting a guy who just started playing the tight end position because we do have limited spots,” Kittle said in the interview.

“I wish I could make it so every NFL tight end can come, (so) it’s accessible to everybody,” Kittle continued. “But what we tried to do this year, we wanted to pay for everything for all the tight ends that come to kind of make it a special event for all tight ends.”

Tebow’s Exclusion Was Not Personal But About Space, Kittle Says

GettyThe Jacksonville Jaguars are banking on Tim Tebow to make an impact at tight end in 2021.

Kittle added that he hopes to expand availability to all tight ends at some point in the future and bring Tebow into the fold as early as next year.

However, this offseason, there simply was not enough room for the 33-year-old trying to reinvent himself on the football field.

“We booked up an entire hotel,” Kittle said Monday. “They’re completely out of rooms. We have every room taken. We blocked off a certain amount of rooms, so we’re completely out of rooms. We thought we were going to get like 20 guys, and the next thing I know, we have 47 confirmed as of last week, and I think we just got past 50. Just, wow, that’s a lot of guys.”

Tebow Has Yet to Earn Right For Invite to Tight End University

GettyRetired tight end Greg Olsen is co-hosting Tight End University with George Kittle. 

While Tebow is technically listed as a tight end with an NFL squad this offseason, he has yet to make the official roster or play in a game as primarily a pass catcher/blocker.

Olsen, who is co-hosting Tight End University with Kittle, said Tebow needs to prove himself a viable player at the position before an invite would be warranted.

“If he’s on a roster this year, and he plays tight end, we would love to have him, we would love to work with him,” Olsen explained. “Once he’s officially a tight end, we would love to work with him.”

Tebow has not appeared in an NFL game since the 2012 season. In total, he’s appeared in 35 games, starting 16 of them, all at the quarterback position. Throughout the course of his career, Tebow threw for 2,422 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also rushed for 989 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Tebow has been targeted as a wide receiver only once in his NFL career and has never caught a pass.

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