Vaccines and new antiviral drugs cause for optimism as deaths and cases fall but Americans urged to be careful amid variant threat

The number of new Covid cases and deaths in the United States has been in a steady decline since early September, prompting many infectious disease experts to conclude that the worst impacts of the pandemic in America are probably in the past, the Guardian reports.

But in the same breath, those experts also caution that it’s not yet safe to abandon safeguards against the virus. That’s because parts of the US population and much of the world remain unvaccinated, which could allow for outbreaks and dangerous new variants of the virus to emerge.

“My most optimistic assessment is that if we keep vaccinating, sometime during late fall, into the winter, the pandemic phase of Covid will be substantially reduced over much of the United States,” said William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

He added: “We could move from pandemic to endemic, and endemic means that the virus remains in the community, akin to influenza, smolders along, keeps being transmitted, but the rate of disease that occurs is profoundly diminished, and the impact on individuals and health systems is very much controlled.”

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