Area health expert sounds off on potential end of COVID-19 pandemic

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Last week, the World Health Organization said their researchers believe an end to the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, and Sunday night, President Joe Biden declared the pandemic was over on “60 Minutes.”

RELATED: WHO: COVID end ‘in sight,’ deaths at lowest since March 2020

Also, as previously reported last week, the Minneapolis City Council approvednew COVID-19 workplace policy that immediately ends the previous vaccination and testing alternative policy.

Minnesota doctors say they’re seeing more COVID-19 cases this week compared to last week. Experts say the pandemic phase may be over but COVID is still here and it’s spreading.

Hennepin Healthcare doctors say COVID-19 numbers have been pretty steady over the summer but the disease hasn’t caused massive disruptions like earlier in the pandemic.

Experts say, in Minnesota, cases are starting to go up as kids are back in the classroom.

RELATED: 4 additional free COVID-19 rapid tests available for Minnesota households

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Doctors want to remind people not to let their guard down because long COVID is still a concern.

“The long-term effects of COVID are still very real, and so it’s really important that people recognize this is not the common cold,” said Hannah Lichtsinn, a physician with Hennepin Healthcare. “Even if the symptoms that someone has after being vaccinated from this infection are similar to the common cold, the long-term consequences are much bigger, and we don’t know enough yet to be able to tell people you’re at risk or you’re not, or this is how to protect yourself, specifically based on certain risk factors.”

Doctors say the best thing you can do is stay up to date on vaccines to protect yourself against severe disease and death.

The most recent booster shot is designed to provide better protection against the omicron variant.

RELATED: New COVID booster shots to soon be at 3 more community sites