SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – This week marks nearly three years since the Bay Area confirmed its first case of COVID-19 and changed the way we all live our lives. KRON4 sat down with the Santa Clara public health director with more about what lessons we learned over the past three years and what’s next for the virus.

Not so fast, Santa Clara County Public Health Director Sara Cody says. After three years of living with the coronavirus, we’ve adapted well as a society to living with it, but in Santa Clara County the virus is still very well circulating, based on wastewater samples.

Dr. Cody says people should have multiple layers of COVID protection, including vaccination and indoor masking. She says as a health professional, over the last three years the pandemic has shown us how underfunded the public health system is.

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“I describe the public health infrastructure as matchsticks and scotch tape,” she said. 

Dr. Cody says it’s not a matter of if there will be another pandemic, it’s just a matter of when.

“All of the forces that are present that produced this pandemic are still present. They have not been mitigated,”

She says a mix of humans and wildlife, global travel, and an underfunded public health sector creates an environment for a virus to thrive and potentially start another pandemic.