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Dartmouth health researcher on centering equity at this stage in the pandemic

A COVID-19 health clinic in Berlin has a sign directing people where to go.
Lisa Rathke
Associated Press
The number of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in fully vaccinated people are spiking, even as mask mandates in the state and around the country are withdrawn.

Live call-in discussion: COVID precautions continue to be relaxed in Vermont and across the country, but case rates and hospitalizations are rising. And health policy experts say those increases are hitting older and BIPOC Americans at disproportionate rates.

This hour, we talk with Anne Sosin, a public health practitioner and researcher at Dartmouth College who’s led research on COVID-19 and rural health equity in northern New England, about health equity at this stage in the pandemic and in the months ahead.

President Biden's chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, spoke to PBS News Hour earlier this week and said the country has essentially moved out of the pandemic.

"We are certainly, right now, in this country, out of the pandemic phase," Fauci said to News Hour's Judy Woodruff.

"Namely, we don't have 900,000 new infections a day, and tens of tens of hospitalizations and 1thousands of deaths. We are at a low level right now. So, if you're saying, are we out of the pandemic phase in this country, we are."

Sosin told Vermont Edition there's a difference between a political and biological end point to the pandemic.

"I worry that this framing, 'the pandemic is finished' will really undermine our efforts to do the work to set the stage for a post pandemic state," she told host Connor Cyrus.

Sosin added there are still vulnerable communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID, including the immunocompromised, people of color, children under five and rural Vermonters.

PBS News Hour notes Dr. Fauci later clarified to the Washington Post that the U.S. was out of the "full-blown explosive pandemic phase," but that the virus still posed a threat, saying the country is "really in a transitional phase, from a deceleration of the numbers into hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity.”

Broadcast live on Wednesday, April 27, at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or tweet us @vermontedition.

Connor Cyrus was co-host and senior producer of Vermont Edition from 2021-2023.
Matt Smith worked for Vermont Public from 2017 to 2023 as managing editor and senior producer of Vermont Edition.