Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday on MSNBC's "The Beat" that COVID-19 will likely become an endemic virus that has a constant presence like influenza.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday on MSNBC's "The Beat" that COVID-19 will likely become an endemic virus that has a constant presence like influenza.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said Friday on MSNBC’s “The Beat” that COVID-19 will likely become an endemic virus that has a constant presence like influenza.

Melber said, “You have repeatedly emphasized Delta, and the facts do bear out that that’s the main thing getting people sick and killing people, especially the unvaccinated. Given the rate of vaccination in the United States and the indications that there are large groups choosing not to get vaccinated, is the CDC’s view that this will not be eradicated, that we will have to deal with COVID and its mutations over the multi-year-long term?”

Walensky said, “We have seen now that this is likely to become an endemic disease here in the United States, and really around the world. We have many diseases that are endemic. Influenza being one of them. They cause us minor challenges year after year that we can handle and tackle. That may very well be what happens with COVID.”

She added, “But I think you raise a really important point. We still now know, even our most recent data, that you are six times more likely to get infected, 11 times more likely to get hospitalized, and 14 times more likely to die of COVID if you are unvaccinated. So as public health official for the country, one of the things I really want to do is optimize America’s health. I do that by getting more and more people vaccinated.”

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Pam Key