There are no widely accepted, quantitative definitions for the end of a pandemic like COVID-19. The end of the pandemic due to a new virus and the transition to endemicity may be defined based on a high proportion of the global population having some immunity from natural infection or vaccination. Other considerations include diminished death toll, diminished pressure on health systems, reduced actual and perceived personal risk, removal of restrictive measures, and diminished public attention. A threshold of 70% of the global population having being vaccinated or infected was probably already reached in the second half of 2021. Endemicity may still show major spikes of infections and seasonality, but typically less clinical burden, although some locations are still hit more than others. Death toll and ICU occupancy figures are also consistent with a transition to endemicity by end 2021/early 2022. Personal risk for the vast majority of the global population was already very small by end 2021, but perceived risk may still be grossly over-estimated. Restrictive measures of high stringency have persisted in many countries by early 2022. The gargantuan attention in news media, social media, and even scientific circles should be tempered. Public health officials need to declare the end of the pandemic. Mid- and long-term consequences of epidemic waves and of adopted measures on health, society, economy, civilization, and democracy may perpetuate a pandemic legacy long after the pandemic itself has ended.
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