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Is it the end of pandemic phase?

As cases are ticking up across Pennsylvania, doctors say not so fast.

OLYPHANT, Pa. — COVID-19 cases are ticking up again in the Keystone State.  

This as the nation's top infectious disease expert says the United States is transitioning to endemic disease.

Is the worst of the pandemic behind us?

Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week he believes the U.S. is moving out of the pandemic stage.

But here at home, and as cases are ticking up across Pennsylvania, doctors say not so fast.

"I think maybe it was an unfortunate statement, and he tried to explain it today. But I think it's much more important to talk about where we are, but not put a label on it. Where we are, we are better than we are a few months ago, but we are still seeing cases," said Dr. James Cruse, Wayne Memorial Community Health Center.

Dr. Fauci did backtrack to say the threat is not over for the United States but did say he believes the worst phase of the pandemic is behind us in terms of deaths and hospitalizations.

Dr. Cruse says yes, the number of COVID patients in his hospital right now is much lower than before.  

But, people are still getting the virus, and the number of people actually with it could be skewed because more people are taking at-home tests.

"I mean, the pandemic is just not over, we are moving to an endemic phase where the virus is kind of at a low smoldering level, and we are not seeing big spikes, but we are not guaranteed that we aren't going to get a spike in a month or two or in the fall," Dr. Cruse said.

As we continue to live with the virus, health experts point to therapeutics available now that weren't before.  

Vaccines and anti-viral treatments.

One of the oral medications is now at Medicap Pharmacy in Olyphant.

"The Molnupiravir and Paxlovid are approved for 18 and older, and it is recommended for all ages in between. The side effect profile is minimal," explained Eric Pusey, Medicap Pharmacy.

Doctors say the easiest way to stay safe is to be smart.

If you do get COVID and want to utilize medications now available, talk with your doctor. 

You will need a prescription before going to the pharmacy.

   

Watch more stories about the coronavirus pandemic on WNEP’s YouTube page.

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