MILWAUKEE — Three years after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first case of COVID-19 in the United States, the pandemic continues on nationwide and across Wisconsin.

While it may not garner as many headlines as in the past, medical experts anticipate the virus itself won’t completely fade away any time soon.

“I don’t think anyone’s going to like this answer, but COVID will be with us forever now,” said Dr. Jeff Pothof, chief quality officer at UW Health. “Just like influenza has been with us, but not as disruptive as it’s been in the past several years. I do think cases will decrease enough so that we don’t see these new variants popping up so quickly.”

Wisconsin is currently averaging more than 500 new cases of COVID each day right now, according to the Department of Health Services.

And while people continue to get sick and die from the virus, Pothof said the severity of cases overall is down from the pandemic’s peak.

“I think on the positive side, compared to previous years, even going into winter compared to last January, even though cases increased a little after the holidays, we didn’t see a big surge,” said Pothof. “I really think that’s a combination of different things — people already exposed to COVID, people who are vaccinated and boosted, and better medicines that help people stay more healthy when they get COVID.”

Watch the full interview above.