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COVID In Colorado: Too Early To Switch From Pandemic To Endemic

DENVER (CBS4) - Gov. Jared Polis says he's frequently asked if the COVID-19 virus will ever be eradicated in Colorado. Many experts believe the virus will linger for a long time but aren't ready to say this is an endemic.

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"We are not anywhere near I think, where we could begin to call this endemic," said Dr. Lisa Miller, an Epidemiology Professor at the Colorado School of Public Health. "we're still seeing huge spikes around the world and our state is a good example of that."

Miller was the chief epidemiologist in the state for decades. She says she remembers going to conferences where researchers would warn about coronavirus pandemics. She says there's still too much infection and not enough answers to determine if the virus will be more like smallpox and nearly eradicated or an annual issue like the flu.

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"You may think that two years is a long time, but in the lifetime of a virus, it's not a long time. So, it's early. And there's still a lot that we don't understand. There's still a lot of unpredictability about this virus," said Dr. Miller.

Increased vaccination rates and new treatments could still arise that could drastically limit COVID-19's ability to spread. But the possibility of it become endemic still exists.

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"The more reasonable scientific story is that this virus will be around in some form for a long time, but exactly what that looks like, we can't say," Dr. Miller said. "This virus is the enemy, and we need to think about what we can do to work against that virus. We will get more tools in our toolbox. We will have more treatments; we'll have better treatments."

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