By Marissa Armas

AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and the coronavirus has mutated multiple times, but are we near an endemic?

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“I think we are, we’re nearing the endemic phase of this virus, because it persists,” said Dr. James Neid, an infectious disease physician at the Medical Center of Aurora. “But it’s not over.”

While the virus is still here, Neid said getting to the endemic phase has to do with incidents.

“Which is, are the cases going up? Is there a rapid spread?,” he said. “We’re learning to live with a virus that may not go away for a long period of time.”

But to fully get to the endemic phase we have to have a large population showing signs of immunity, not just in the United States, but around the world.

“Thanks to vaccinations and prior infection work, we’re starting to get there,” said Neid.

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Neid said getting to an endemic doesn’t mean the virus will be completely eradicated, it’s when we start to see fewer hospitalizations and deaths.

“It’s when it hits the news less, it’s when people start worrying less,” Neid said. “This is just going to be another routine microorganism out there that has the ability to cause disease.”

Even though that means the virus won’t be as severe, Neid said it’s still important to be vigilant because new variants can arise, causing us to take a step back. He says the best thing we can do to reach that endemic phase is to continue getting vaccinated and getting boosted and doing whatever we can to mitigate the spread.

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“Assuredly there will be another variant, we don’t know if it will be a variant of interest or a variant of concern meaning how severe is it, and what will the public health recommendations be based on its new version,” he said.

Marissa Armas