Pittsburgh doctor on pandemic: ‘We will be living with this virus, there is no covid zero’

PITTSBURGH — Dr. Amesh Adalja says not to expect COVID-19 to be completely eliminated. The Pittsburgh-based critical care and emergency medicine physician says having an “abstinence view” of COVID-19 just isn’t realistic. Dr. Adalja used this idea to write an opinion piece in the New York Daily News.

Dr. Adalja says from the very early stages of COVID-19 it was clear to him that it would become an endemic virus — something we deal with every year. He says it’s really due to the virus itself. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that spreads easily and efficiently in an animal host.

We spoke with Dr. Adalja, where he said people need to accept the fact that COVID-19 isn’t going away.

“I think people believe that covid 19 would disappear because that’s what policy makers were kind of saying to them and it really wasn’t something that was integrated with the scientific knowledge of this virus. Once we realized back in January of 2020 that this virus spread efficiently from person to person that meant it was destined to become a seasonal coronavirus. remember we have 4 other coronaviruses that cause 25 percent of the common cold. Back in Jan of 2020 i wrote a blog post saying that this was going to be the 5th season of coronavirus and so people didn’t believe me that was going to happen, but it’s now widely accepted….just based on the biology you could see that was going to happen.”

Dr. Adalja says while COVID-19 won’t go away, the acute phase of the pandemic will not last forever. He says we are going to move into a position where COVID-19 is one of many viruses that causes infections, and that there will be a baseline number of cases, hospitalizations and even deaths.

Adalja, a Butler native and senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, has emerged as one of the most recognizable national experts on the pandemic. Since Americans first began hearing about coronavirus a year ago, Adalja has become a go-to guy for much of the national media.

Now, he’s calling on the country and world to rethink mitigation measures.