"I think the fact that England has declared an end to the pandemic and a variety of other countries have now said there will be no mandate and [are] just going to acknowledge that COVID is going to run through the population just like the flu, I am hopeful," she continued.
With the reduction of serious illness and COVID-19 hospitalizations, face coverings are no longer required by law anywhere in England, and a legal requirement for COVID-19 passes for entry into nightclubs and other large venues has been scrapped.
According to the CDC, omicron has officially peaked in the United States. The U.S. seven-day average of new cases fell from about 798,000 on January 15 to about 744,000 on January 19, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data. Once the omicron wave passes, the country could enter a more "endemic" phase of the virus, in which it continues to exist but no longer poses a crisis affecting everyday life. But while many states are already rolling back COVID restrictions, Dr. Toevs recognizes the "huge political component."
"Will the politics go away? I don't know," she admits. "This is a God-sized problem for which I pray every day."
A new Associated Press-NORC poll shows that few Americans – just 15% – say they will consider the pandemic over only when COVID-19 is largely eliminated.
"By contrast, 83% say they'll feel like the pandemic is over when it's largely a mild illness, like the seasonal flu," Dr. Toevs added. "The AP-NORC poll also shows that for many Americans, strict precautions like avoiding socializing and travel are making a comeback because of the omicron variant."