FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - Just. Hold. On. That's the message from a Baylor physician and researcher who predicts better days on the back side of the current Omicron surge.
"I do think that the worst is going to be behind us as a society," says Robert Gottlieb, MD, PhD. "The future does look brighter. We have more therapies, we have more protection between vaccines and recovery, and so that is going to make it harder on the virus to actually make a greater percentage of us sick."
Right now, Omicron continues to have the most severe impacts in communities across the nation with low vaccination rates. However, according to the DFW Hospital Council, hospitalizations across North Texas right now are falling. And Dr. Gottlieb predicts more positive news is on the way.
"I think the massive surge that we're experiencing right now will be followed by -- pardon the phrase -- a breath of fresh air, with less severe disease going forward," says Dr. Gottlieb, "dramatically lower numbers, and we will have ample supplies of therapies to rescue patients that need it, and fewer patients will need those therapies."
The future, experts say, will include a shift from "pandemic" to "endemic", which Dr. Gottlieb describes as a virus that "causes issues from time to time, but not as severe as what we've seen. We'll be looking in the rearview mirror and saying `at least everything that we have is a blip in the road compared to what we've already been through'."
Dr. Gottlieb, a cardiologist, and researcher who most recently worked to bring monoclonal antibody treatments to the community, believes having therapeutics more widely and readily available will be critical-- and he believes that will happen soon as well.
"I believe that we are in a place where it's going to be much more straightforward. If you have symptoms. get tested. If you have risk factors, you can go pick up your medicine or go get your infusion -- whichever it may be -- and life goes on. We're close. We're not quite there yet."
So, hold on, North Texas. We're not "there", yet...
"But we can see the finish line," says Dr. Gottlieb. "Spring is going to be a refresh. Spring -- we know our numbers can be dramatically lower. We're going to be on the backside of this Omicron. And we will be replete with therapies to intervene when needed. This is going to be a new era."
Sounds a lot like hope.
"At some point, the news cycle is going to have to talk about something else besides COVID. Because COVID won't be in the news every day."
We can only hope.
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