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Medical expert explains important steps to reach 'new normal' amid COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 7:51 AM, Jan 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-21 10:51:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - It’s getting close to year two of the pandemic with more COVID-19 cases happening, talks of a possible endemic, and many wondering when we can move to the old normal or into a new one.

“I would be cautious about saying we’re going to go back to normal,” said Dr. William Tseng, of Kaiser Permanente San Diego.

The normal sights of the pandemic such as masks are still seen around San Diego, and these times have been trying for some.

“I want my daughter to start kindergarten not having to worry about, ‘Hey, put your mask back on. Hey, pull it up,'” Daisy Fugate said.

“We’re definitely burned out. We just want to get back to normalcy,” Grant Moreland said.

The desire for normalcy is as high as ever during these last two years.

Tseng told ABC 10News we can get there, and he said vaccinations will be key.

“There’s one population that still doesn’t have that opportunity to get vaccinated and that’s those kids under 5,” Tseng said. “So, once we get the kids vaccinated, we can then further look at the data and say, 'Hey, is it really less virulent?’”

He added that having more vaccinated individuals can allow the medical community to evaluate the severity of the virus and how tolerable it is from a treatment side.

Tseng also said more access to new treatments for the virus will also be critical.

“We’re working on the prevention end and we’re working on the treatment end. And when they meet, we’ve got you covered,” Tseng said. “I think when we get there, that’s when we get to normal. And we’re getting there. We’re making strides.”

We still haven’t seen the end of the omicron surge.

“If you are sick, stay home. Don’t go out and get anybody else sick,” Fugate said.

Until the spread stops, Tseng said people should still be vigilant and wear masks to inch closer to a new normal.

“Coming out of it, it’s going to be, for me, I feel like it’s going to be a whole new world to explore out of the pandemic,” Elizabeth Flores-Moreland said.

When it comes to the discussion of heading to an endemic, Tseng said that we are still in the pandemic stage of the virus because it is still worldwide. But the direction is heading toward that as we look forward to a new normal.

“There may be a set of normal where we are able to do well and not have so much tragedy in our community. I’m not ready to call it an endemic just yet,” Tseng said.