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Health officials say no end in sight for COVID-19 virus, mask mandates

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LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — It’s been a long and daunting year dealing with COVID-19 and all of the restrictions put in place to combat the virus. It’s left many with that pandemic fatigue we’ve talked about and asking “how long until this is all over”.

Brian Labus, infectious disease epidemiologist and Assistant Professor at the UNLV School of Public Health weighed in.

“I don’t think anyone knows exactly how this is going to play out the rest of this year let alone the rest of the decade. It’s entirely possible that this could be one of the coronaviruses that circulate every single year," Labus said.

He also says even though thousands across the country have been vaccinated it’s still too soon to tell if the vaccine is enough to rid us of COVID-19 for good.

“We won’t see the disease under control until we see over 70 percent of the population vaccinated,” Labus said.

January set a record as the deadliest month for COVID-19 in Nevada but Labus says we've also made progress.

“Even though we have high levels of disease, we look to have turned the corner and we’ve seen the rates decrease over the last couple of weeks," he explained.

Health officials say pandemic fatigue is real, but if everyday citizens are fatigued just imagine how first responders must feel.

“It’s exhausting it is very, very taxing and hard to keep morale up for sure," said Dr. Clarence Dunagan, Chairman of the emergency room department at Mountain View Hospital.

Dunagan says he and many of his colleagues have received their vaccines, and he has this message for our viewers at home.

“The only way we’re going to get out of this, the only way we’re not going to be wearing masks forever is to get vaccinations," he said.

"The entire country needs to get vaccinated, if you got COVID two months ago that is not a reason to not go and get the vaccine,” Dunagan explained.

For those who have been vaccinated health officials are reminding you that you still need to wear your masks and practice safety measures.

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While current COVID-19 vaccines do offer you some protection, it may not fully stop you from contracting the virus.

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