The CDC Director Says This Is When We'll Have COVID "Behind Us"

Robert Redfield, MD, says the coronavirus pandemic may be over sooner than you think.

With some U.S. states reversing their reopenings and no definitive date for a COVID vaccine hitting the market, many are left wondering when the coronavirus pandemic will finally be over for good. Though it may seem as though COVID will be part of our lives forever, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Robert R. Redfield, MD, believes the virus is already on borrowed time. In an August 20 interview with the JAMA Network, Redfield said, "Hopefully…next spring, we'll have this pandemic behind us."

Redfield said that there is already some good news in terms of the mortality rate from coronavirus, with the total number of stateside deaths expected to go down in the coming weeks. "Hopefully, next week, we'll start to see a decline," he said, noting that there is a testing lag of up to four weeks that influences overall COVID case numbers and mortality data.

gloved hands holding covid blood test
Shutterstock/Egoreichenkov Evgenii

In order for the U.S. to see the decline in COVID cases and deaths continue, Redfield said, "the most important thing we can do is…protect the vulnerable around us," including the elderly and those with preexisting conditions that can make COVID more severe, like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lung disease, and kidney disease.

While Redfield was optimistic about the COVID death rate's continued downward trajectory, he made clear that complacency regarding mask-wearing and other COVID prevention strategies could see those numbers rise again, especially once flu season starts. "Come the fall, if we have the flu causing its problems and we have COVID causing its problems and they build on each other, we could end up with another loss of significant life," he explained.

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However, with risk mitigation steps in place, Redfield says there could be a secondary benefit in the coming months until a vaccine is made available. "I'm hopeful that the steps we take to prevent COVID are going to prevent flu and other respiratory viruses," he said.

Redfield added that, between enough people opting for a flu vaccine this year, continued efforts to prevent the spread of COVID, and the eventual widespread administration of a coronavirus vaccine, "we'll begin to see our nation get through this pandemic." And if you're worried you may have contracted the virus, check out These Are the 51 Most Common COVID Symptoms You Could Have.

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