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What to expect with COVID-19 in 2023

FOX43 checked in with an infectious disease expert about the state of the virus and what to expect in the new year.

PENNSYLVANIA, USA — While there are plenty of things that can stay in 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic is not one of them. This has been the mildest winter for the virus, a trend that could continue in the new year and beyond.

"What we are really seeing is COVID-19 transitioning from being a pandemic disease, a new disease that spreads rapidly makes a lot of people sick and ends up in a lot of hospitalizations and a lot of death, to an endemic disease," UPMC Infectious Disease Physician Dr. John Goldman said.

The trend is happening nationwide. Heading into the new year, the U-S averaged less than half a million cases a week. Just one year ago, that number was more than 2.1 million.

"So we're seeing many fewer cases," Dr. Goldman said. "Of hose cases, they are getting much less sick."

UPMC’s hospital system shows that trend.

The system currently has 60 COVID-19 patients, with only one or two on ventilators at any given time. At the start of 2022, UPMC had roughly 300 patients with anywhere between 30 to 40 on ventilators.

Dr. Goldman says the virus will still be prevalent this spring and summer.

"COVID will be a seasonal virus, meaning it'll happen in the fall and winter," Dr. Goldman said. "But we'll see many more cases of it than we would typically see a flu or RSV during the spring and summer."

The four approved vaccines and natural immunity have contributed to a much less severe version of the virus.

"Probably about half to two thirds of the population has been infected, and about two thirds has been vaccinated. There aren't that many people left who have no immunity," Dr. Goldman said. "It is in fact becoming much more like the flu in terms of how severe the disease is."

Goldman also says those who have not been vaccinated for both COVID-19 and the flu should still get their shots.

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