Why Some Experts Are Cautiously Approaching The Next Phase Of The Pandemic

Little by little, most experts agree that the worst phase of the pandemic is coming to an end. President Biden announced at the beginning of March that "Covid need no longer run our lives," (via The White House). However, there are still states where cases remain relatively higher including Kentucky and Idaho, according to a COVID tracker via the New York Times.

Regardless, many states around the nation are easing restrictions, including California, Oregon, and Washington, which have lifted their school mask mandate (per NBC News). And cities like New York and Minneapolis have ditched their proof-of-vaccination requirements. The CDC announced last week that more than 90% of Americans can stop wearing masks indoors (via CNBC), and the federal mask mandate on transportation, which includes planes, trains, and buses, will expire on March 18, 2022 (via the U.S. Department of Transportation). But some experts say we still must be careful.

Experts are cautious, yet hopeful

Despite the easing mandates, some health experts like Jennifer Nuzzo remain cautious. As an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University, she tells NBC News, "Don't say it's over. We say it's better, much better. Is there still a lot of needless death that's happening? Absolutely. And I really want us to be laser-focused on making sure everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated and gets the vaccines that they need."

According to Nuzzo and other experts, taking things slowly is the best way to approach the coming months ahead (via NBC News). On March 8, the Biden administration sent out a press release via the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services outlining the new "test-to-treat" strategy, which pivots from masks mandates to treating COVID-19 infections on the spot. This initiative aims to provide free COVID-19 testing and antiviral pills for all Americans to access in pharmacies across the nation. Those who develop symptoms of COVID-19 are encouraged to get tested as soon as possible.