September 29, 2022

Is the pandemic over? We asked an economist, an education expert and a public health scholar their views

4 min read

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this commentary are solely those of the authors. Showcasing the work of CNN. ConversationCollaboration between journalists and academics to provide news analysis and commentary. The content is entirely produced by The Conversation.

President Joe Biden Declaring that “the epidemic is over” Raised eyebrows and chinks from some experts who contemplate such messaging. Premature and can be harmful.

But for many Americans who have long since returned to pre-Covid-19 activities, that is happening now. Forced to go back to the office.the comment may be valid.

The problem is that what feels like “back to normal” can vary from person to person, depending on the individual’s circumstances and by what criteria they are judging the end of the pandemic. The talk asked three scholars from different parts of American society affected by the pandemic – public health, education and the economy – to assess how “broken” the pandemic is in their world. This is what he said:

Read more: When should you get the new COVID-19 booster and flu shot?

Lisa Miller, Associate Professor of Epidemiology, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

President Biden has answered the question of whether the pandemic is over with a resounding ‘yes’, but it’s not a black-and-white issue.

That’s true, thanks Broad immunity to vaccines and infections, America is in a very different place than it was a year ago. But as an epidemiologist, I understand the constant occurrence in between Between 350 and 400 deaths per day in the US And Hundreds of deaths every week in other countries of the world Still an epidemic.

I understand the need for Biden as a public figure to try to explain where the country is and offer some hope and reassurance, but public health experts are still in a situation where no one knows for sure. could do How will the virus change and evolve?. These mutations can make the virus less dangerous, but it’s also possible that the next variant will be more harmful.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you call the current situation – COVID-19 is still a significant, ongoing threat to the world. Pandemic or not, it is important to continue to invest in developing better vaccines and strengthening the preparedness of medical and public health systems. As with COVID-19, the risk is that decision makers will lose sight of these important goals.

Read more: How do epidemics end? History shows that diseases die.

William Hawk, Associate Professor of Economics, University of South Carolina

As an economic researcherI can talk about the COVID-19 pandemic and its lasting impact on the economy.

And the good news is that the worst impact of the pandemic on the economy ended some time ago. After reaching a post-war high of 14.7 percent in April 2020 as the ravages of the pandemic reached their peak. Unemployment rate All remain at 4% or below for 2022. Notably, in the August jobs report, the total number of employed workers in the US surpassed the pre-pandemic high for the first time.

Although the labor market has largely recovered, there are still economic ripples from the pandemic that the US will feel for some time.

There are still supply chain challenges in some key areas, Like computer chips. Although we can expect a strong recovery in this region, geopolitical issues, Like the war in Ukraine, continue to create problems. As a result, a full recovery may not take place for some time and may hamper efforts to fight hyperinflation.

Finally, many Americans are reevaluating their work-life balance as a result of the pandemic. Total labor force numbers suggest there could be “tremendous resignations”. Further change in employmente However, the increase “leave silent“—the phenomenon of limiting employee productivity and not going “above and beyond”—may lead many to conclude that workers are not as intrinsically motivated by their work as they think. were before COVID-19.

So while the “pandemic” phase of COVID-19 may be over for the economy, the rise of a new normal can be seen as the beginning of a “local” effect. That is, we are no longer in an emergency, but the “normal” we are returning to may differ in many ways from the pre-COVID world.

Read more: How to Disagree About COVID Without Making Enemies – Psychologist’s Tips

Wayne Au, Professor of Education, University of Washington, Bothell

While it’s true that public schools have largely returned to “normal” operations in the absence of mandatory masking. High stakes test To measure teaching and learning, and personally Attendance Policiesschools are not done with epidemics.

gave Epidemic shocks What many students face at home – the death of friends and family, the lingering effects of COVID, isolation and anxiety due to parental job insecurity, and unequal access to health care – these live inside when they go to class today. .

Many students have to relearn how to get along with each other personally and in social and academic settings. In addition, students in low-income families are still struggling to manage outcomes Unequal access to resources and technology At home during distance learning.

The gap in educational outcomes right now is the same as before the pandemic and appears at the intersection. race, the class And Immigration. So is the pandemic. Increasing socioeconomic inequality In general, it has similarly widened already existing educational inequalities.

Additionally, epidemiology Pressure on teachers and districts As a result of Shortage of staff across the countryCreating instability in learning in schools and classrooms.

These issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic and may continue to affect students for years to come – especially those from low-income backgrounds.

Read more: How the pandemic changed what a ‘good death’ means

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