Pandemic impacts continue to linger

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Is there still a coronavirus pandemic?

While many store shelves continue to have bare spots and infections continue to linger, much of the region continues to work back toward normal, prompting some to wonder if the pandemic has ended.

The COVID-19 pandemic is “most certainly not over,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the head of the World Health Organization publicly stated at the end of May.

This, despite a decline in reported cases since the peak of the omicron wave. He told governments that “we lower our guard at our peril.”

At the time, Ghebreyesus, told officials gathered in Geneva for opening of the WHO’s annual meeting that “declining testing and sequencing means we are blinding ourselves to the evolution of the virus.” He also noted that almost 1 billion people in lower-income countries still haven’t been vaccinated.

Switching from a global perspective, when it comes to local governments handling the ongoing declaration, they must follow regulations.

According to an Oneida County spokesman, counties, “can’t undeclare a pandemic … It would have to come from a higher level like the state or federal government.”

This week, requests for comment from the governor’s office regarding whether we are still embroiled in a pandemic declaration or if there is an endpoint in sight have gone unanswered.

However, in a Tuesday daily statement regarding COVID-19, Gov. Kathy Hochul said, “It is critically important that we continue to maintain our vigilance and take advantage of the tools we have available to fight this virus ... Ensuring you and your loved ones are up to date on vaccine and booster doses remains the most effective way to protect against serious illness. Get tested, especially if you are experiencing symptoms, and if you test positive talk to your doctor about available treatments.”  

For more COVID-19 information and data (including county-based data breakouts) for New York State, visit: https://on.ny.gov/3rw82oG

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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