As we all gradually inch back to a sense of normalcy, medically speaking, are we finally out of the COVID pandemic? 

Doctors at WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital say it won’t be like suddenly waking up from a bad dream, it will be more gradual. 

First, we should define a pandemic, which is an increase in a disease that spreads over continents, is now considered an “endemic.” Yet it is still uncertain about whether COVID is in that stage. 

We don’t know if there is going to be another surge. A year ago, after Beta, was going to be less. We had Delta which knocked us down. And then Omicron came along and hit us in the mouth. We all have a good plan until we get hit in the mouth.

So, we’re all a little hesitant to say this pandemic is ending. The signs show the number of cases are decreasing, the transmission rates are decreasing, hospitalizations are are decreasing.

Dr. Clark Milton, Medical Director of Corporate Health

Those signs point to an ‘endemic.’ Dr. Milton says while we, as a society, are done with this virus, the virus is not done with us. Even in the ‘endemic’ stage, doctors say COVID will most likely not be eradicated, but similar to the common cold, we will learn to live with it. 

Looking across the mountain state, West Virginia University has lifted mask requirements in its classrooms and labs regardless of a person’s vaccination status. 

A mask requirement in most indoor spaces. Active virus cases statewide have fallen below 2 thousand for the first time since last July. Masks will continue to be required through March 18th on university buses and the personal rapid transit system.