Spain becomes first European nation to call for treating COVID like the flu

International

People wait in front of a pharmacy open on Sunday to get a COVID-19 test, in Paris, France, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022. An unprecedented number of coronavirus infections is once again exposing the underfunding and shortcomings of public health care systems, even in developed parts of Europe. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

(WTVO) — Spain’s Prime Minister has called for officials to classify COVID-19 as an endemic disease, like the flu, and suggesting that people live with it.

According to Bloomberg, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez wishes to have a flu-like monitoring system to replace pandemic tracking.

“I believe that we have the conditions for, with precaution, slowly, opening the debate at the technical level and at the level of health professionals,” Sanchez said, “but also at the European level, to start evaluating the evolution of this disease with different parameters than we have until now.”

The idea that the virus that causes COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2, is not going away have prompted governments to rethink their strategies on how to deal with living with it.

“Certainly COVID will be with us forever,” said Dr. Albert Ko, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Public Health. “We’re never going to be able to eradicate or eliminate COVID, so we have to identify our goals.”

At some point, the World Health Organization will determine when enough countries have tamped down their COVID-19 cases sufficiently — or at least, hospitalizations and deaths — to declare the pandemic officially over. Exactly what that threshold will be isn’t clear.

British Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said Sunday that the U.K. is “on a path toward transitioning from pandemic to endemic,” as the latest omicron variant of the virus has resulted in lower death rates despite record infections.

France and Germany continue to tighten social and business restrictions as populations there are facing record levels of infections.

French President Emmanuel Macron has said that he wants to make life for the unvaccinated as difficult as possible.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, is looking ahead to controlling the virus in a way “that does not disrupt society, that does not disrupt the economy.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories