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When will COVID-19 end? A new CDC prediction has surfaced

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, issued a new prediction about the end of the pandemic

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A face mask in London.

A face mask lies on the floor in an empty street in the financial district known as The City in London, Monday, Dec. 13, 2021.

Alberto Pezzali, Associated Press

The question on most people’s minds is when will the COVID-19 pandemic end? Well, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has a new prediction.

Walensky told ABC News that the pandemic will end when the country sees a huge drop in deaths per day and when hospitals aren’t packed with patients.

  • “We’ve gotten pretty cavalier about 1,100 deaths a day,” she said.
  • “That’s an extraordinary amount of deaths in a single day from this disease,” Walensky said. “We can’t — I can’t — be in a position where that is OK.”

The pandemic, she said, will eventually end. And that will mean that we can drop the face masks from our culture, too.

  • “Masks are for now, they’re not forever,” Walensky told ABC News. “We have to find a way to be done with them.”

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner, said during “Face the Nation” on CBS News in early November that the pandemic phase of the coronavirus outbreak was close to ending.

  • “I think that we’re close to the end of the pandemic phase of this virus, and we’re going to enter a more endemic phase and as things improve, cases may pick up,” Gottlieb said.

But that was before the omicron variant emerged, worrying experts about what might be next in the coronavirus pandemic. Experts told The Sydney Morning Herald that the omicron variant could be less virulent and cause less severe outcomes — which has proven true so far — which might be a sign of the future of the pandemic.

  • “The theory is that, if a less virulent strain becomes dominant, more people will become infected but fewer will be critically sick,” per The Sydney Morning Herald. “The virus, while still a problem, also becomes part of the solution; every person who recovers from a mild case is left with greater immunity against future infections than any of the current vaccines provide.”