Even though Covid is still a part of our daily lives, along with some variants, I’m beginning to wonder if the “pandemic” phase of Covid isn’t as prevalent as of today (less lock-downs, quarantining, worldwide masking requirements, limited business hours, etc)
After decisions being made on decreasing and/or eliminating Covid restrictions around the world, Covid feels more like an endemic rather than a pandemic, in my opinion.
For example, since most bars, restaurants, concerts, and indoor/outdoor events are back to full capacity, I wonder how many people “really” care about Covid, since you can still catch Covid despite being vaccinated?
Personally I don’t give it a second thought now. There are pretty much no restrictions on what I can do or where I can go.
As further boosters come online I’ll be first in line to get them (just as I do with flu) but other than that minor diversion I just don’t see it as a big deal now.
Pretty everyone I know is of the same mindset, we have moved on from the situation of the last two years.
COVID is simply another name for something like “flu”. It happens, other people die, but the rest of us simply live our life with the awareness a heart attack, a car crash, flu, or COVID, might change it for the worse. Yes, COVID is 100% additive to the risks we were running in 2018 and still are. But it’s simply one more minor incremental irritant in world brimming in minor incremental irritants.
That’s the opposite of… what? If a pandemic is an epidemic that meets some other condition, then pandemics are a subset of epidemics. Therefore, since covid isn’t an epidemic any more, it can’t be a pandemic, either.
A pandemic is in a sense, an epidemic that’s gotten to be large enough to encompass the world. So in that sense, it’s “larger” than an epidemic.
But in the mathematical sense, it’s a subset in that all pandemics are a sort of epidemic, but not all epidemics are pandemics.
Regardless, @LSLGuy and @Novelty_Bobble pretty much nail it. We’re at that stage where there really isn’t much benefit from doing the various protective behaviors (masking, avoiding public places, etc…) anymore, and COVID has reached a stage where it’s no longer that serious to the vaccinated/boosted.
We’ve done what we can, and now we’re at the stage where it’s going to remain for the rest of our lifetimes, so it’s time to get on with things.
That’s not to say that if say… you have a big vacation coming, it might not be a terrible idea to mask up for a few weeks prior, to make sure you don’t catch COVID or the Flu ahead of time and screw up your plans.
There’s no such thing as a permanent emergency. Even in situations where the threat hasn’t changed one bit (and that’s definitely not true about Covid), people’s priorities will change as the realities begin to bite.
The opposite in that an epidemic is a subset of a pandemic. A rapidly spreading disease in a single area is an epidemic. If it spreads to a much larger area then it becomes classified as a pandemic. COVID-19 is still a pandemic and thus by definition an epidemic. Just because people have stopped treating it as seriously as a year or two ago does not change the nature of the outbreak.
You are of course correct that I used subset incorrectly. My point, however imprecisely made, is that a pandemic is an epidemic that has spread to a larger geographic area. Since every public health agency I am aware of still classifies COVID-19 as a pandemic, that necessarily implies that it is still an epidemic across a wide area. As for an epidemic requiring exponential increase, can you share a cite that that is a necessary component?
I suppose it’s because so many people I know have contracted COVID over the past several months and, thanks to the vaccines, symptoms have ranged from “bad cold” to “annoyed that kids have to stay home from school for a week”.
That fact of the matter is that the situation is very different from a couple years ago. Two years ago, COVID was a novel virus for which there was no prior immunity or vaccine. People really didn’t know how serious it was or how it spread. The main goal was to “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm the health care system.
Now, the virus is approaching more of an endemic stage (not “epidemic”). That means it’s now just “out there” and we have to live with it. But thanks to vaccines, what appears to be less dangerous strains, some degree of “herd immunity”, and proven treatments for dealing with symptoms, COVID simply isn’t as dangerous as it was two years ago.
While @Chronos is correct in terms of the arrangement of concepts, I find the “subset” terminology a confusing way to think about the concepts, because @JohnM did exactly what I initially did - it’s natural to think of subsets of the population who are infected.
Looked at another way, flu and common cold are both pandemics, and have been for at least a thousand years. Infections are everywhere and never-ending. IOW somebody near you has an infection now and somebody (else) near you always will. Or you will. And those diseases harm or kill some goodly number of humans every year. And (mostly) we simply accept that as a feature of the human condition on Earth.
What is legitimately different from e.g. 2 years ago, as folks have said above, is that for most people most of the time, nowadays COVID-19 isn’t a one-way trip to the hospital, it’s the sniffles. Due to vaccination, variant mutation, and improved treatment in that order of importance.
Now the COVID-24 strain that will break out in the wreckage of Ukraine will be a different matter. That’s the variant that’ll recreate the 14th Century’s Black Plague of Europe and kill half of humanity.
I think that, at this point, not only is it that minds (on both sides) are made up about the vaccines, masking, etc. but that 2 1/2 years of COVID have simply exhausted most people’s ability to think about it and worry about it. (That’s not to say that there aren’t some people who are still deeply worried about it, but they’re in the distinct minority now.)
Combined with the fact that, as @LSLGuy noted a couple of weeks ago, for most of the vaccinated or the previously-infected, catching COVID at this point likely isn’t going to make them seriously ill. (But, as suggested, if a substantially more dangerous variant shows up, all bets are off.)