COVID-19 Pandemic is Not Over
It is easy to think the COVID-19 pandemic was an issue of the past as restrictions and mask mandates lift going into the fall seasons. Ohio has seen a consecutive decrease in reported cases through the month of September. Hospitalizations are slowly decreasing. However, there is still a problem with COVID-19.
President Joe Biden said in a "60 Minutes" interview on CBS Sunday, September 18th, 2022 that the pandemic is a thing of the past, but a COVID-19 problem still remains.
To understand if the pandemic is truly over, Joe Gastaldo, MD, an OhioHealth infectious disease specialist answered this question with ABC 6. "I think it’s a much different conversation today than it was when this virus first came on the scene in earlier 2020. We have vaccines that are still performing well, protecting against hospitalizations and death. We have home testing. We have outpatient treatments that also keep people out of the hospital and prevent them from dying," says Dr. Gastaldo.
Dr. Gastaldo says the status of the pandemic depends on who you ask. Those with weakened immune systems, those who are frail, and people above the age of 70 who are not up to date on their vaccines are still subject to the harsh symptoms and outcomes of testing positive for COVID.
"I think people need to realize that there will be more COVID, along with more flu and other respiratory viruses this winter because we’re going to be indoors more," says Dr. Gastaldo.
Dr. Gastaldo recognizes COVID fatigue and wanting to get together for the holidays and celebrate. He advises the community to be aware of the risks, as well as practice safety measures to minimize exposure to COVID.
"We all have COVID fatigue. We’ll have holidays and time to get together and celebrate. It’s what we do, including myself. We really need to be cognizant of that the virus, influenza, and other retroviruses are out there," says Dr. Gastaldo.
The CDC has eased up on COVID-19 restrictions as well, such as shortening the quarantine period from 10 days to five. But it has not publicly declared the end of the pandemic.
OhioHealth continues to require face masks for everyone at our care sites: care providers, employees, patients, visitors and vendors. This requirement also applies to people who have been vaccinated.
To view OhioHealth’s COVID-19 Toolkit, click here.