'Some people believe COVID is going to become endemic,' says expert at Baylor College of Medicine
HOUSTON - The COVID-19 virus continues to mutate, creating new variants and sub-variants in the United States. Local health officials say, right now, we are seeing cases mainly from the BA.2 sub variant.
Dr. Prathit Kulkarni, an infectious disease expert with Baylor College of Medicine, says the BA.2 is a variant of Omicron.
"From about the end of Feb. to now, COVID-19 in the U.S. has been the BA.e sub variant," said Kulkarni. "Now around the county, it’s risen to about 75% of the cases."
The variant is causing major issues in some cities like Philadelphia, where an indoor mask requirement has been mandated once again, a possible concern for the region.
"Overall, hospitalization rates are trending down in our area, and it’s overall mirroring what is happening on the national level in the U.S."
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Some are now asking when and if this pandemic will even end, and when the pandemic will transition into an endemic.
"Some people believe COVID is going to become endemic, which means it’s going to become part of the natural circulation of respiratory viruses," said Kulkarni. "We need to have a substantial period of time when all those things are low, where we are not having to adjust, so many aspects of society in response. "
As some cities are discussing masks requirements, the federal government is discussing whether to extend the federal mask mandate for transportation.
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Dr. Kulkarni says as far as masks are concerned, those in high risk groups should have an individual conversation with their doctor.
"Individual risk assessment with their physician, especially folks who are older, have medical problems or a compromised immune system."