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Las Vegas health experts react to President Biden claiming 'pandemic is over'

President Joe Biden said the “pandemic is over” and it is catching the attention of many in the local medical community off guard.
Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 21, 2022

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — President Joe Biden said the “pandemic is over” and it is catching the attention of many in the local medical community off guard.

President Biden said, “we still have a problem with covid, we are still doing a lot of work on it, but the pandemic is over.” He said this during a time the CDC is still reporting more than 400 Americans are dying daily from the coronavirus.

Dr. Ati Hakimi, A Local Primary Care Physician says she was shocked to hear the president says the pandemic has come to an end. While she agrees our valley is seeing a downward trend in coronavirus, the fight isn't over.

"We are seeing a light at the end of this tunnel. I don't think we're there yet," Dr. Hakimi said.

Contrary to what President Joe Biden said in his recent interview with 60 minutes. Dr. Hakimi says although levels of COVID are low in Southern Nevada the virus is still spreading.

"I personally still am getting patients calling me about contracting COVID," Dr. Hakimi said.

She went from several covid positive patients daily to one every three weeks. It's a downward shift Dr. Cassius Lockett, Director of Disease Surveillance and Control with Southern Nevada Health District is noticing across the valley.

"It is really premature right now to declare that the pandemic is over,” Dr. Lockett said.

He claims we need to continue driving vaccinations and following safety measures.

"We definitely need to not let our guard down. We all need to remain vigilant in case conditions change," Dr. Lockett said.

He says back in January, our seven-day average was about 7,000 cases a day. Currently, we average between 60 and 80 cases a day.

The CDC is not confirming the pandemic is over and reports that nationwide they're seeing more than 400 deaths a day related to covid.

"COVID-19 is still a top ten cause of death in the United States and about four times higher than the national death numbers for influenza," Dr. Lockett said.

An alarming statistic for Dr. Marc Kahn the Dean of the School of Medicine at UNLV. Dr. Kahn says the country is entering a new phase moving from a pandemic to an endemic.

He says the combination of infection and vaccination with the new bivalent booster will achieve a form of herd immunity, but many wonder if there could be another surge.

"We're going to see more mutations, especially as it goes through the population, but I think that really the expectation is increased transmissibility, less virulence,” Dr. Kahn said.

Dr. Kahn says another surge is unlikely, but you can't trust COVID.

As we approach the winter months Dr. Lockett is encouraging everyone to get the new bivalent booster and flu shot to better protect themselves from viral infections.