The spread of COVID officially triggered a global pandemic on March 11, 2020. In the nearly two years since, the virus has killed millions of people and brought havoc to the lives of billions more.
It appears the omicron wave has crested, which gives reason for hope. But even as cases decline, officials said the fight isn’t over.
The second anniversary of the pandemic is less than three weeks away, and after multiple waves of COVID, case counts in the United States are overall on the decline.
New cases are averaging roughly 103,000 per day, which is the lowest count since early December, when omicron was surging. Hospitalizations are declining 26% from last week.
But with just 28% of people in the U.S. boosted and the pace of vaccinations slowing, experts said the push for full vaccination and boosting remains critical.
“I think it’s safe to assume that we’re not done vaccinating for this virus,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a CNN medical analyst.
An additional recommended booster dose might be ahead. Officials with the Food and Drug Administration said while they continue to monitor new data, they could recommend another booster in the fall.
“Many of us expect that in the years to come, we will have yearly doses of COVID vaccine the same way that we do for the flu vaccine in order to protect us against new variants that rear their head as we go into cold weather months,” said Dr. Megan Ranney, professor of emergency medicine at Brown University.
This comes amid encouraging news about COVID treatments. According to a new study that hasn’t yet been peer reviewed in India, Merck’s antiviral drug, Molnupiravir, cut hospitalization risk by 65% -- an improvement over a previous study of the drug. It was approved by the FDA in December to treat some cases.