FOX 12 speaks with local virus experts on COVID-19 timeline | Local news

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) – With uncertainty surrounding the Omicron variant of COVID-19, many Oregonians are wondering when they will see the pandemic end or be able to resume normal activities.

With that in mind, FOX-12’s Simon Gutierrez spoke with two local virus experts to get their advice. Here are some excerpts from those conversations:

Dr. Ken Stedman studies viruses at Portland State University.

Gutierrez: Initially, there was an idea that we could eradicate the pandemic if enough people are vaccinated, if there is enough collective immunity. Now the tone has kind of changed, it’s just something we’re going to have to live with. Is this the reality that it’s just going to be there and infect people for the foreseeable future?

Stedman: We do not know. We can only guess in regards to these things. But we do know that there are coronaviruses, the common cold coronaviruses, that circulate all the time in all humans. And if there is a pattern, that’s probably what’s going to happen in terms of what’s going on in terms of SARS-CoV2. Most people infected with some of these cold coronaviruses have sniffles. You know, common cold. Not serious. What I think is going to happen with SARS CoV2 is ultimately, and don’t ask me how long because I don’t know, that’s probably what is going to happen in terms of SARS CoV2.

Image: KPTV

Dr Bill Messer is studying viral genetics at OHSU and has led genetic sequencing efforts on COVID-19 variants.

Gutierrez: All we’re hearing right now is that we’re going to have to live with COVID-19 for some time, several years, if not forever. Is this also what you understand? I have also heard that the virus may continue to evolve in a certain way to be more like the common cold, therefore less severe.

Messer: Yeah, I mean both are a possibility. They are certainly not mutually exclusive. As the President of Austria said the other day, we are all going to be vaccinated, cured or dead at some point.

Gutierrez: A few months after the start of the pandemic, everyone was wondering when are we going to get back to normal. Two years later, everyone is still wondering when we’re going to get back to normal. Is there a possibility that we won’t get back to normal, that we have to deal with some of these measures like masking, limiting gatherings, things like that for years to come?

Messer: The answer I’m starting to find, or I’ve found, is that it’s probably going to be seasonal. There will likely be times of the year or years when we say, oh, the transmission of COVID is really on the rise in the community. It’s probably time to start wearing masks. It’s probably time to limit indoor gatherings. And then, next summer, a lot of those restrictions will likely go away.

In Southeast Asia where they see a lot of seasonal flu, wearing a mask is something much more common, was more common before COVID. And that might force us to catch up with this practice. Recognize seasonality, recognize risks and be able to adapt.

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