When will the pandemic end? Expert says we’re not close – Deseret News

What should you do? The delta variant is surging. Mask mandates are creeping back into our lives. It’s beginning to feel a lot like 2020 as the world reacts to a new COVID-19 variant and potential variants on the way.

Larry Brilliant, a well-known epidemiologist who worked with the World Health Organization to help stop the smallpox outbreak, told CNBC this week that the pandemic isn’t even close to ending.

“I think we’re closer to the beginning than we are to the end (of the pandemic), and that’s not because the variant that we’re looking at right now is going to last that long,” Brilliant told CNBC.

“Unless we vaccinate everyone in 200-plus countries, there will still be new variants,” he said.

The rise of variants and the surge in cases has stoked fears among experts about what’s to come. In fact, Dr. Robert Redfield, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicted that the U.S. will see another new variant this fall, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

“Within, you know two, three, four months we’re going to have another variant and that variant’s going to be more infectious than the delta variant,” Redfield said.

So what should you do to stay safe against COVID-19? Let’s say you are vaccinated. But you’re worried about infecting other people. Should you be wearing a mask? Should you skip the grocery store and order food through an app?

Robert M. Wachter, chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, said that people should consider their own risk levels when making decisions about when to be around crowds and when to wear masks.

“ … Everybody’s got to choose their own risk tolerance, which’ll depend on your psychological state and your risk factors for a bad outcome,” he said, per The Washington Post. “It should also be influenced by local prevalence — your chances of a breakthrough infection are much higher if you’re in a place with a high case rate than if you’re in Vermont.”

Dr. Leana Wen, a former Baltimore health commissioner, similarly said she would engage with fully vaccinated people right now, but not bring unvaccinated people around her children.

She wrote for The Washington Post that she would “attend an indoor dinner party with all vaccinated people, even if someone there might be engaged in high-risk behavior. But I wouldn’t have this person around my (unvaccinated) children unless they first quarantine and test.”