The coronavirus might be here to stay.
Many of the nation’s leading experts are sounding the alarm again Friday, and warning people not to get rid of their masks just yet.
But the renewed warning comes as Pfizer announced a new antiviral pill that might have a lot to do with how quickly things might improve.
“Clearly COVID will not be going away for a couple years, if not ever,” said UCSF Dr. Bob Wachter.
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His predictions are echoed by other leading experts.
“We may never, actually, get rid of it,” said Dr. Marty Fesntersheib, Santa Clara County COVID-19 testing officer.
Wachter said the Bay Area is probably the best place in the country if COVID plans on sticking around, because of the high vaccination rates.
But for the next year or two, what we see now, is what we’ll likely see then.
“That’s the way it's going to be like in the foreseeable future,” he said. “A little better, a little worse. But not massively better and not massively worse either.”
Wachter said low vaccination rates in other states are holding back progress.
But he’s intrigued by the new experimental Pfizer COVID antiviral pill, which cuts hospital rates and deaths by 90% in clinical trials.
He calls it a potential game changer--one that could prove him wrong in his virus predictions.
“If they’re at risk of getting COVID, if they can get tested quickly and on this medicine quickly, their chances of a bad outcome go down very low.”
But for now, the experts say keep masking up, or at least keep the mask handy - and get vaccinated to have a better shot at finally winning the war against the pandemic.