You’ve probably heard it by now: Covid-19 is not going away. The broad consensus among experts is that it’s not realistic to think we’re going to totally eradicate this virus. We will, however, see it move out of the pandemic phase and into the endemic phase.

That means the virus will keep circulating in parts of the global population for years, but its prevalence and impact will come down to relatively manageable levels, so it becomes more like the flu than a world-stopping disease.

For now, “we have to remember that we are still in a pandemic with this virus,” said Jen Kates, director of global health and HIV policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “We’re not yet at a point where we’re living with endemic Covid. When we get to that point some of this will be much easier, but we’re not there.”

So, how will we know when we are there? Is there some clear threshold or some magical metric that will tell us, objectively and undeniably?

Yes and no.