Are we approaching the end of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Health experts discuss drastic drop in new cases
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Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 17, 2022

CLEVELAND — As soon as early next week, the CDC is expected to update its mask guidance and other COVID-19 precautions, as infections and hospitalizations continue to sharply fall.

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven day rolling average for new cases is now 136,000, compared to more than 455,000 two weeks ago.

The Ohio Department of Health reports new coronavirus cases continue to fall, with under 2,000 reported Thursday, compared to about 12,000 new cases three weeks ago.

“On January 1st, Cuyahoga County had the highest case rate in the state of Ohio for covid-19,” Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan said during a Feb. 16 Board of Health briefing. “By January 24th, we had the lowest case rate in the state and around us, communities continue to drop as well.”

Nearly 65% of Americans are fully vaccinated.

For Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda, this drop in new COVID-19 cases, still in the midst of winter, marks a shift from the past.

“This drop has been so rapid that we want to make sure it's going to come down and stay down,” she said. “I think what we're looking at here is we have a lot of folks who have been vaccinated. We have a lot of folks who have had the disease and so we're seeing this sort of drop off like omicron was famous for around the world.”

With the pandemic in the rearview mirror, and an endemic COVID-19 ahead of us, Skoda told News 5 her team is focused on trying to vaccinate parts of the population not vaccinated or not boosted.

On top of that, the waiting game continues for preparing for whenever those under 5 become eligible, which she says likely won’t come until the nation’s top experts determine whether a booster should become standard or not.

“If you remember when it came out, one dose for Johnson & Johnson, two for adults and then all of a sudden there's a booster,” she said. “Look at all the confusion that was created. I really think it's wise to wait until, you know, if in fact, you need that third dose.”

As for how to shift away from what’s been a two year long alternate universe, Skoda said that will vary.

“You really have to evaluate your situation personally, know about the vulnerable folks in your lives and really try to take care of yourself,” she said. “Be careful, protect yourself, but I think we’re going to see the risk slowly go down.”