The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced its new guidelines for COVID-19 last week, which were more relaxed than previous recommendations.
The CDC lifted the requirement to quarantine if exposed to the virus, emphasized screening people without symptoms, and updated COVID-19 protocols in schools, eliminating a recommendation for testing to stay after possible exposure.
“This guidance recognizes that the pandemic is not over, but it also helps us move to a point where COVID-19 no longer severely disrupts our daily lives,” the CDC said. Greta Massetti said in a statement last week. “We know that COVID 19 is here to stay,” she added in comments during a conference call with reporters.
But the chief medical officer for the city of Houston, Dr. David Persse, said that herd immunity has happened.
“Some of this is from vaccination, we have many vaccines, they are easy to get, those who are interested seem to have done it. I say this because not many people will get vaccines right now. he told Craig Cohen during Monday’s Houston Matters. He added that there were also many infections in the community.
“I believe what the CDC is reflecting is that while there is a highly prevalent variant of COVID, it does not have significant negative health impacts and is largely due to community immunity,” said Dr. Persia. “When we talk about all these strategies, we wanted to make sure that people didn’t get sick. we want to make sure people don’t suffer serious consequences, and it looks like we’re there.”
Persse added that deaths continue to occur due to COVID, but they continue to be among the unvaccinated, or people who have other illnesses.
“We are not completely out of the woods, but the situation has improved dramatically,” he said.
Persse also said that the current omicron variant has likely done the damage it is likely to do, but more waves are coming.
“With the exception of a new variant, I think it’s more than we’ve reached the final chapters of this pandemic; I think it is a realization of what we have achieved”, he said. Persse also predicted what many have said throughout the pandemic: COVID-19 will eventually be treated like the flu.
“We’ll never get rid of it completely.” he said.
Persse also encouraged parents to vaccinate their children now that the back-to-school season is upon us.
“Kids tend to do pretty well with COVID,” he said. “For parents, I think if you’re concerned about vaccines, you have a number of options. You can still get infected, but you won’t get as sick as you would if you hadn’t been vaccinated.”
Persse also discussed the increase in monkeypox cases in the Houston area.
He noted that the virus is mostly in men who have sex with other men, but it is not exclusive to that group and others can get it.
“You can share a warehouse, share sheets, a T-shirt or live in a house with someone,” he said. “Eventually we will see the virus spread outside the MSM community. One of the challenges we have is to slow it down.”
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