This week's Ask Dr. Durie has a very important question, which is, "What is the status of COVID-19 infections across the U.S.?" A very important question. And the status has changed in the last few months. The levels of infection in the community with COVID have dropped to quite low levels, and so the risk of serious infection has become rather rare.
And so, this is a remarkable turning point, really. And the national emergency status is also being eliminated. Both the emergency status and the public health emergency status will be eliminated on May 11, 2023. And so, with this, really, the emergency status of COVID-19 has been ended. And so, with that, we now have a lack of mandates for vaccination.
The mandate for wearing masks has also ended. And so, there's much more freedom to return to a more normal day-to-day routine. However, what is really recommended for myeloma patients, despite these broad endings of mandates for vaccination and masks, myeloma patients should still be alert and get vaccinated as appropriate. For example, it is expected that moving into the fall, a further booster shot will be recommended also for myeloma patients wearing a mask in areas of risk where they might be exposed to individuals who may not have been vaccinated and the like or indoors, where there are many people present.
Myeloma patients still just need to be a little bit cautious. And then, of course, if a myeloma patient does think that they may have contracted a COVID infection, it's important to get tested right away so that various interventions can be considered. And so, the bottom line is that, in the early part of 2023, three things are looking much better for COVID-19.
Patients can literally breathe more easily and mostly without a mask, especially when they're outdoors. But stay alert. We need to be alert to any new mutations, what are called variants of concern, which can emerge, and we just need to hope that our public health officials are staying equally alert and will let everyone know if anything has changed such that stricter guidelines need to be in place.
But for now, breathe more easily and enjoy these freedoms. It's been a long time coming.