"The pandemic is over."

“The pandemic is over,” the president told Scott Pelley as they talked last week at the Detroit Auto Show. “We still have a problem with Covid. We’re still doing a lot of work on it … but the pandemic is over. if you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing.”



The proud cynic in me says very good timing.


I think it’s fair to say we’ve transitioned from Covid being a pandemic to it being an endemic disease like the flu.

Covid is still wreaking extensive havoc on the US, far worse than a typical flu year. Deaths the last couple months have steadily averaged 380-500 per day, 7-day average, only recently dipping briefly below 400, then back up to 465 (most recent figure reported at the moment by the NY Times). At 450/day that’s over 200,000 deaths per year.

Ideally we would make another major vaccination push this fall to get the new bivalent boosters widely deployed. Unfortunately the laissez faire attitude that Biden noted along with his comment that the pandemic was over (look: no masks), will also prevent most people from seeking out a new booster. And, unfortunately funds for promotion and distribution of the boosters have dwindled away due to gridlock in Congress.

With the disease still steady ripping through the population here and abroad, it’s just a matter of time until another variant of concern emerges. We can only hope it doesn’t mutate into a more deadly version.

I continue to be bullish on Moderna, for their Covid vaccine prospects in coming years, and for their pipeline of other vaccines and treatments. The stock is tanking today on no news that I can see, back down to the low end of the trading range it’s been in since January.


Now that I think about it a little more, Moderna’s stock tanking today may well be because of Biden’s comment that the pandemic is over.

I’ve moved a little money around and bought more MRNA today at $125.25, my lowest price point yet. The stock is a bit speculative, I know, but I believe their Covid vaccine business will hold up a lot better than is priced into the stock right now.

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The pandemic is not over. Of course, this is one of the few times I’d prefer to be proven wrong.

Here are the reasons the pandemic is not over:

  1. The wastewater viral load is still high. While it’s down from the summer peak, it’s still within shouting distance of all pre-omicron peaks.
  2. Not everyone has had the updated COVID booster yet. Although I got my updated booster 10 days ago, I won’t have the full benefit until the end of this week. (And I’m one of the first people to get it.)
  3. There are still too many unvaccinated people out there and too many people who had the good sense to get the first two doses but never got the booster they were eligible for.
  4. People get reinfected. If it weren’t for reinfections, the pandemic would have been over a year ago.

If we get through the winter without any big surges like those of the past two winters, then I’ll be ready to believe that the pandemic is over.

There’s one more reason that the pandemic isn’t over:
5. People are still getting Long COVID.

Here are the reasons the pandemic is not over:

None of the reasons you list are definitive of a pandemic. I think the data supports the position that we have moved to the epidemic stage. You can still have too high rates of infection and it be an epidemic, not a pandemic. In fact, that is the very definition of an epidemic.


An increase — often sudden — in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in a specific area.

Note, our willful FAILURE to prepare and adapt (i.e. refusal to get vaccinated) doesn’t mean that it remains a pandemic.

Influenza kills 250,000 - 500,000 worldwide every year. It is deemed an epidemic.


Here’s a good article addressing ‘pandemic’ vs epidemic and endemic. By its definitions, we appear to be still in a pandemic, unless you can say it is becoming endemic to the whole world, instead of to a specific region like the article says.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes an epidemic as an unexpected increase in the number of disease cases in a specific geographical area…

In being declared a pandemic, the virus has nothing to do with virology, population immunity, or disease severity. It means a virus covers a wide area, affecting several countries and populations…

A disease outbreak is endemic when it is consistently present but limited to a particular region.

So, an ongoing pandemic that people are deciding to mostly ignore. Or perhaps a disease that is endemic to the whole world, like the common cold.

This article cites a study which says it could become like the latter definition by 2024: https://www.webmd.com/lung/news/20220707/covid-19-could-beco…

The COVID-19 virus could become endemic, meaning it will persist in a less fearsome mode like the flu or common cold. But that might not happen until 2024, says a new study from Yale published this week in PNAS Nexus.

Yale reports, “With both vaccination and natural exposure, the population accumulates broad immunity that pushes the virus toward endemic stability.”

The Yale team predicts that in 2024 – four years after the pandemic began in March 2020 – about 15% of the population could be infected at any given time.

In the meantime, the virus will constantly circulate, and certain populations will remain more vulnerable to it. “We can’t assume that once we reach the endemic state that everybody is safe,” Zeiss said.

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New York City to lift vaccine mandates for private sector and extracurriculars

Starbucks to end COVID-19 isolation and side effects pay in October


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Pandemics are expensive. Not only that some people die, but “more importantly” people don’t work, tax payer money is doled out wholesale and commerce is disrupted.

Think of the money which can be saved if the pandemic is ended.

That said, the pandemic will end when it feels like it and not when politicians and businesspeople command it. It remains to be seen, if a new more virulent variant this winter will make them try to stuff the genie back in the bottle.