by Photo provided by the office of Gov. Gavin Newsom

As of Thursday, California became the first state with an endemic approach to the coronavirus. 

It means the virus will stick around indefinitely, and Californians will start learning how to co-exist with variants.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said although the virus remains, it will be more manageable for the health authorities. The plan's characteristics were announced by Newsom and the State Secretary of Health, Mark Ghaly. 

The summary is the anachronistic SMARTER. The letters stand for Vaccines, Masks, Awareness, Preparedness, Tests, Education, and Prescriptions, a common abbreviation for prescriptions and a reference for improving Covid treatments.

Under the plan, vaccines are the most powerful weapon against hospitalization and serious illness; masks, used correctly with good filtration, help slow the spread of COVID-19 or other respiratory viruses.

The endemic phase sees the virus not going away, and residents must be ready with the resources and supplies they need to respond quickly and keep public health and the health care system well prepared.

Treatments will become more widely available and critical as a life-saving tool, and Californians will use the right tests to detect COVID-19. 

The state will continue to work to keep schools open and children safe in classrooms for in-person instruction.This is the first time that the pandemic has been considered an endemic condition.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Newsom said “this pandemic will not have a definite end. There is no finish line."

He said that therefore his administration is developing "a plan that allows us to be prepared without being paranoid and more alert to what is happening around us, but without being anxious."

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