Infectious disease specialist and chief medical advisor to the president, Dr. Anthony Fauci said recently that the U.S. is out of the "pandemic phase" of COVID-19; however, some took that as "the pandemic is over". Obviously, that is untrue.

The following is a quote from Fauci:

We are certainly right now in this country out of the pandemic phase. Namely, we don't have 900,000 new infections a day and tens and tens and tens of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now.

But, right now, we are not in the pandemic phase in this country. Pandemic means a widespread, throughout the world, infection that spreads rapidly among people. -pbs.org

Whether the virus is considered endemic or not nationwide, here in Berkshire County, the numbers are rising again after this winter's massive surge due to the Omicron variant.

The increase in cases of COVID-19 in Pittsfield and The Berkshires prompted an email from PPS Superintendent Joseph Curtis on Tuesday concerning what may lie ahead for a change in protocol.

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The following is an excerpt from that email:

In a meeting with the Pittsfield Board of Health this week, it was agreed to continue to watch the cases counts closely for the remainder of the week to see if the case counts peak and then begin to decrease. If the case counts continue to rise each day for the remainder of the week, a decision could be made for a school or all schools to resume masking and distancing practices during instruction, transitions, and meal service. 

Slater and Marjo had the chance to speak with Pittsfield Commissioner of Public Works, Ricardo Morales, on Wednesday, he said that the biobot that detects SARS-CoV-2 in the city's wastewater is reporting a slight increase in viral loads, nothing like this winter's surge.

Story to be updated...

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.