States nationwide and nations worldwide are relaxing their COVID-19 protocols as infections decrease and vaccination rates increase.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that a mere 10% of the U.S. population currently live in areas where facemasks are advised. Health officials in New York said that as the state enters “a new phase of the pandemic, we must adapt our public health interventions,” announcing that contact tracing will end this April.

With testing sites being shut down and mask mandates being lifted, people have begun to wonder if this symbolizes the end of the pandemic. According to various health experts though, it’s not that simple.

Even though protocols are relaxing throughout the nation, officials are saying that COVID isn't going anywhere anytime soon, meaning that we will probably need another booster shot.

CNBC reports that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is assessing preliminary data that supports the idea of an additional booster shot this fall. This could perhaps be the first in a sequence of yearly COVID vaccines, similar to flu shots.

Furthermore, it appears that booster shot rates are also on the decline. Data from the CDC reveals that the seven-day average for booster shots in December was around one million. On Feb. 19, it was nearly 150,000.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy added that COVID-19 misinformation "has had a profound impact on Covid-19 and our response," as reported by CNN. "Studies have demonstrated that the vast majority of the American public either believes common myths about Covid-19 or thinks those myths might be true," Murthy said, as he is currently further investigating the spread of COVID misinformation. "Many of those include myths around the Covid-19 vaccine, so we've seen firsthand how misinformation is harming people's health when it comes to Covid."

Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci told the Financial Times in February that the U.S. is approaching a stage of normality regarding the pandemic as we know it.

“As we get out of the full-blown pandemic phase of COVID-19, which we are certainly heading out of, these decisions will increasingly be made on a local level rather than centrally decided or mandated,” he said. “There will also be more people making their own decisions on how they want to deal with the virus.”