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As cases fall, Wisconsin's chief medical officer says COVID could become endemic in 2022


Wisconsin reported fewer than 5,000 positive cases of COVID-19 Thursday, down from more than 18,000 cases a day just three weeks ago.

But even though that’s a significant drop, Wisconsin Department of Health Services Deputy Secretary Deb Standridge says Wisconsinites need to remain vigilant.

“Although cases are declining,” she says, “every county in Wisconsin is still experiencing critically high case activity. COVID cases in Wisconsin continue to impact our health care systems with many hospitals experiencing staffing shortages.”

Standridge and the DHS Bureau of Communicable Diseases’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Ryan Westergaard, both say they hope cases will continue to fall in coming weeks.

If that’s the case, Dr. Westergaard says it’s possible COVID will become endemic.

“The phrase endemic, meaning we’ve reached a steady state of transmission, I think that’s likely to happen during this next year,” Dr. Westergaard says.

He adds some medical experts believe COVID will never become endemic because new variants cause big spikes, infecting lots of people at a time.

The way to prevent those future spikes, he says, is maximize vaccination.

Erin Gottsacker worked at WXPR as a Morning Edition host and reporter from December 2020 to January 2023. During her time at the station, Erin reported on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.
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