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Boston doctor says COVID pandemic isn’t over, despite Biden’s comments

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By Courtney Cole, WBZ-TV

BOSTON – We’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for about two and a half years now and life feels a lot more normal. However, there are questions about the state of the pandemic.

This follows a statement made by President Biden in an interview last weekend, in which he says he believes the COVID-19 pandemic is over. But is that true?
   
“The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We still have a lot of work to do on it. It’s… but the pandemic is over,” President Biden said in part during a 60 minute interview on Sunday.

Not quite, according to Dr. Paul Sax, Clinical Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Sax is also a professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s and Harvard Medical School.

“First let me underline the fact – that despite the president saying that, the pandemic is not over,” Sax said. “We still have quite a lot of COVID-19. You probably know people — everyone knows people who got it recently.”

dr. Sax told Cole that we have made a lot of progress though. He believes that is what the president ultimately meant by his statement.

“We now have really effective vaccines that prevent the serious consequences of COVID-19 and we have treatments. But it’s still happening and I expect it will get even worse as the winter weather comes,” said Dr. sax.

People who spoke to Courtney Cole of WBZ-TV on Monday said they don’t believe the pandemic is over yet, so they are still taking precautions.

“I’ve had three vaccinations so I feel pretty safe. I feel like it’s almost over, but I’m masking on the train… I’m not going to lie about that!” exclaimed Brian Burgess.

“Yes, I mask when it’s time to mask, but when I know everyone is negative and they’re okay, I take off my mask,” Latoya Allen explained.

“Well, I also have cancer, so getting COVID could be catastrophic for me. So I still take precautions every day. I wear my mask unless I’m outside and not around a lot of people,” said Todd Koukow .

When asked what people should do to keep each other safe, Dr. Sax: “Well, I recommend people get the updated boosters that just came out. They are specially tuned for the Omicron variant, and especially for the special one for the one that is circulating the most right now.”

dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the public health commissioner and executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, also sent a statement saying: “While we have made progress against COVID-19, it is important for everyone to remember that this virus poses a serious health risk. and continues to endanger our communities.Nationally, nearly 400 people a day die from severe COVID-19 infection, and here in Boston, wide racial disparities in health outcomes and vaccination rates mean that our Black, Latinx, and immigrant residents have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic and greater risk of serious illness and hospitalization As we enter the fall and winter, the Boston Public Health Commission is focused on increasing our city’s vaccination and booster rates to ensure residents receive the broadest possible protection against cases. of serious illness, hospitalization and death.”

According to the latest data from their BPHC COVID dashboard, there have been 1,521 COVID-19 deaths in Boston since the start of the pandemic – representing a 0.7% rate.

dr. Sax said if you haven’t had COVID in the past three months and haven’t been vaccinated in the past three months, go ahead and get the booster shot.

“If everyone looked out for each other a little bit, it would be a lot better,” Koukow said.

dr. Sax said that while most cases are now on the milder side, some people still get quite sick.

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