Wafaa El-Sadr, director of ICAP Global Health at Columbia University and the leader of the New York City Pandemic Response Institute, said that omicron’s rapid transmission rate helped it to quickly “saturate” the population, infecting anyone vulnerable to infection. El-Sadr said the combination of immunity based on prior infection and vaccination against the virus provides a level of protection — less people are susceptible to getting sick. Cases and hospitalizations may decrease quickly in the coming weeks, she said, but it’s important to start thinking about how to live with the virus long-term.

“The time is right now to try to change the narrative,” El-Sadr said. “How can we adjust our lives in the context of Covid rather than continuing to have an enormous fear of it?”

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