Epidemics, Pandemics and Endemics, Oh My!

Press Releases

As positivity rates of COVID tests collected by Meritus Health continue to lower, inpatient medical care needs for COVID-19 reducing, and the demand for testing greatly diminished, all of the signs begin to point towards the region emerging from the most recent and worst surge of COVID-19 in the area.

“We are cautiously optimistic that these numbers are indicators that this surge is behind us,” explained Meritus Health’s President and CEO, Maulik Joshi, a doctor of public health. “They also could be indicators that we are headed towards a new phase of COVID-19.”

Health terms and phrases matter, explained Meritus Health’s President and CEO, Maulik Joshi, a doctor of public health, who explained the difference between different stages of a disease.

“An epidemic is when you have a disease that increases dramatically in a region more than anywhere else. So, Measles in 2019, became an Epidemic in California. There are also things that can be epidemics, like smoking. If your city had a much higher smoking rate than the rest of the state, you could say there is an epidemic of smoking in the city,” he explained.

“On the other hand, COVID-19 is a pandemic. That’s an infection or disease growing fast and spreading globally.”

But, with the correct measures in place and safety precautions, and the expansion of the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable and pediatric populations, Joshi said, COVID-19 is could soon evolve into something more controllable.

“We are moving from a global pandemic to an endemic, which is a disease that is unfortunately still here for a while, but something that is manageable,” he said. “COVID-19 is moving to an endemic stage, getting us all closer to that light at the end of the tunnel.”

Joshi said while care teams at Meritus Medical Center continue to treat patients with COVID-19, and the virus continues to be a very real threat to the health of the community, this next phase should be more manageable by the local hospital and less impactful.

He said the impressive response to the pandemic by Meritus Health was not temporary, and permanent infrastructure and advances to approach to care will continue to serve the needs of the community in years to come.

“Meritus didn’t just set up a couple of tents for a couple of months, we didn’t just put some posters on the walls and hold our breath. We built a new wing of our hospital to safely offer the care our community needs, we created new and improved pathways for virtual care,” he explained. “Our teams have continued to step up, and will continue to be here to serve the health needs of our community. Together, with our commitment and our permanent investments, we are prepared to care for our community as we emerge into a new normal.”