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Is the COVID-19 pandemic over, or not?

It seems like a long time since the pandemic began. And now, as so much of life looks like it did before the pandemic, it’s reasonable to wonder: is it over? It sure seems like it — even the president said so in September, and COVID precautions are barely seen in some locales.

Still, we continue to have thousands of new COVID-19 infections and hundreds of related deaths in this country each day. So, is it truly over? And what changes if that determination is ever formally made?

When the pandemic began, I thought declaring an end would be straightforward: experts would count up conditions that marked a starting line, and once those conditions evaporated the pandemic officially would be over.