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Jun 11, 2021

Thursday, Jun 24, 2021 - 08:48:14

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

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Grandal, White Sox end 5-game skid, beat Pirates 4-3

Yasmani Grandal hit a two-run double and the Chicago White Sox stopped a five-game losing streak, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 Wednesday.

Leury García added a home run as the AL Central leaders ended their longest skid of the season.


Chicago starter Dylan Cease (6-3) bounced back from rough outing to work 5 2/3 innings, allowing one earned run while striking out seven. He was tagged for seven runs in 3 1/3 innings in his previous outing at Houston.

Liam Hendricks pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save of the season.

Grandal's tiebreaking hit came with two outs in the fifth inning and finished Pirates starter Chase De Jong (0-2).

García led off the second with his first home run of the season, a first-pitch drive to right center.

Chicago outfielder Luis González got his first big league hit with a second-inning double and scored on Tim Anderson’s double. González made his first start as the White Sox navigate the absence of outfielder Adam Engel, who was placed on the injured list on Tuesday.

Pittsburgh scored twice in the second after Cease made two errors in attempting to field a bunt by De Jong with Michael Perez on first base. Cease first dropped the ball and then threw it away, giving the Pirates runners at second and third.

Adam Frazier had an RBI grounder and Ke’Bryan Hayes singled home a run that made it 2-all.

Frazier doubled and scored on a single by Hayes in the seventh.



Pirates: LHP Sam Howard has been diagnosed with right knee tendinitis, but is not expected to miss significant time. … RHP Luis Oviedo (left quad strain) is expected to throw a simulated game in St. Louis.


White Sox LHP Carlos Rodon (6-20, 1.83 ERA) is scheduled to start a three-game series with the Mariners in Chicago on Friday. Rodon has allowed just one run in each of his three starts in June and has a 1.42 ERA this month.

Pirates RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 5.66) will start a seven-game road swing in St. Louis on Thursday. The Pirates are 0-5 against the Cardinals this season and have lost 10 straight against St. Louis overall.

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