Will COVID-19 ever become endemic? On Wednesday, CNBC interviewed an expert in biosecurity alerts who said the virus will always be an epidemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an endemic "refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area."

Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales, said that COVID “will not magically turn into a malaria-like endemic infection where levels stay constant for long periods,” as “it will keep causing epidemic waves, driven by waning vaccine immunity, new variants that escape vaccine protection, unvaccinated pockets, births and migration.”

Should the pandemic eventually become endemic, it won't happen overnight.

“This is not a situation where you have a flip of the switch, like, we’re pandemic one day and then we switch to endemic,” Albert Ko, chair of the department of epidemiology and microbial diseases at the Yale School of Public Health, told the Washington Post on Jan. 20. “This is a gradual process and this is the process that we’re undergoing now.”

MacIntyre is not alone in her assessment. Thai virologist Dr. Yong Poovorawan has disregarded implications that the virus will eventually become endemic, stressing that infections may never truly go away.

The comments from MacIntyre are in contrast to statements made in early December by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky.

“I think that we have seen now that this is likely to become an endemic disease here in the United States and really around the world. We have many diseases that are endemic — influenza being one of them — that cause us minor challenges year after year and that we can handle and tackle, and that may very well be what happens with COVID," Walensky told MSNBC's Ari Melber.

Various health experts believe that the spread of the Omicron variant could be shorter compared to the variants that came before it.

The World Health Organization has emphasized that it will not be the last variant, suggesting that the pandemic is “nowhere near over.”