Health

California to introduce transition to ‘endemic’ approach to virus

California officials will unveil a coronavirus coexistence plan Thursday, which scientists say is likely to be in place for the foreseeable future.

The plan assumes that the most populous state is entering an endemic stage, where the virus still exists in the community but becomes manageable as immunity builds.

“Focus will be getting ready and getting ready,” California Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghali said Monday, ahead of the announcement.

“How do we continue to live with a virus that changes and kind of throws crooked balls at different times?” he said, given that there is no guarantee that the next option will not be more dangerous.

The move comes a day after California canceled its latest indoor mask mandate and after officials said they would delay until Feb. 28 an announcement about when they would stop requiring masks in schools.

School announcements lag behind many other states, which Ghali says is a sign of California’s cautious approach.

This happened recently, two years after Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, introduced the nation’s first stay-at-home order, temporarily hurting the state’s economy, in contrast to more hands-off approaches in Republican states like Florida and Texas. .

Since then, California’s economy and tax revenue have rebounded, leading to record budget surpluses that, along with federal money, have gone to billions of dollars in virus-related programs and economic relief.

The World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic on March 11, 2020, but health experts expected the coronavirus to eventually become endemic.

The surge in omicron diseases is declining as fast as it was in December, with new cases returning to levels close to before the surge. Hospitalizations and intensive care cases have also been declining, and the state’s forecasting models predict a further gradual easing over the next month.

Last week, Newsom said the state’s plan would be based on what officials have learned over the past two years.

This will include mass testing to detect new outbreaks and variants of the virus, as well as quarantines and other data-driven precautions, along with a continued focus on vaccinations and booster shots that can prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death, he said.

The state will also make new efforts to counter misinformation and misinformation that may discourage vaccination, Newsom said. Disinformation is generally considered to be intentional or intentional lies, while disinformation may be unintentional.

Ghali said the same ongoing intensive monitoring would be helpful in detecting other similar airborne respiratory diseases and lead to improvements in California’s overall public health system.

“For California and our future, it’s about being prepared and prepared,” Ghali said. I’m reassembling.”


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