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‘Emergency’ or Not, COVID Still Killing People

Here’s what physicians advise to stay safe
By Amy Maxmen

With around 20,000 people dying of COVID in the United States since the start pf October last fall, and tens of thousands more abroad, the COVID pandemic clearly isn't over. 

However, the crisis response is, since the World Health Organization and the Biden administration ended their declared health emergencies last year.

Let’s not confuse the terms “pandemic” and “emergency.” As Abraar Karan, MD, an infectious disease physician and researcher at Stanford University, said, “The pandemic is over until you are scrunched in bed, feeling terrible.”

Pandemics are defined by neither time nor severity, but rather by large numbers of ongoing infections worldwide. Emergencies are acute and declared to trigger an urgent response. Ending the official emergency shifted the responsibility for curbing COVID from leaders to the public. In the United States, it meant, for example, that the government largely stopped covering the cost of COVID tests and vaccines.

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