COVID State of Emergency ends, virus remains

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 6:16 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) The State of Emergency declared two years ago in the early days of the pandemic is over. As expected, the governor officially ended the emergency declaration Friday. But health officials are quick to remind us the virus is still with us.

You’re excused if you were surprised to hear we were still, until now, officially in a state of emergency. By the calendar it has been barely two years since the pandemic sent us all into a world of masks, social distancing and lockdowns, but it seems like a lot longer.

Maybe we were so anxious to put that world in our rear view mirror that we shoved it far back in our memory banks at the first opportunity.

Most of those restrictions had already been lifted, and as our lives returned to something resembling normal, a lot of us relaxed.

“Which is, in some cases, dangerous,” says Dr. Nancy Diao, Director of Epidemiology and Public Preparedness at the Washoe County Health District, “because we are still vigilant and watch our own trends even we see our cases steadily increase.”

And, she notes, we may not be as safe as we think we are. Some who caught the virus and survived it are now convinced we’re immune. That’s not necessarily so.

“For example, studies have shown that if you were infected during the omicron surge, it’s mostly protecting against omicron. It doesn’t really protect you against other variants as much.”

Others who were vaccinated have failed to follow up with a booster.

The virus, of course, pays no attention to any of this. And it’s still here. In fact, cases are rising locally, but deaths are not.

Two years ago, we were still learning about a virus we’d never seen before. All we had to confront it was common sense preventative measures. Today, we have vaccines and treatments. We’re seeing an increase in cases, but deaths are increasingly rare.

Going forward we will live with the virus because we now have the means. How we fare is ultimately, and now, officially on us.

“So understand your own risk and understand how to protect yourself and your loved ones,” advises Dr.Diao, “and understand that there are a variety of tools that you have to reach out to. Be sure you’re vaccinated and boosted.”

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