ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Many health officials have warned that the coronavirus might be here to stay. In fact, infectious disease specialists say they expect to see a shift from a pandemic to an endemic in the near future…but what does that mean?

Diseases are endemic when they last a long time, occurring regularly in certain areas based on established patterns, but a pandemic is a global outbreak that causes unpredictable waves of illness.

For example, malaria is endemic because it won’t completely go away.

Some Star City community members say they could live with COVID-19 forever.

“I think that I could just because I believe that you adapt to the situation, and I’ve been working from home for the last two years,” said Diane Palissery, a Roanoke resident.

According to Lindsey Schmidt of Roanoke, “I haven’t had an issue with the mask mandate or getting the vaccine or any of that. My relatives haven’t really been affected and I know other people have been hurt. That’s sad, but that’s life.

However, others say dealing with COVID-19 for the rest of their lives would be difficult.

“I feel as though I live in a pretty rural community and people take it a bit differently there,” said Roanoke resident Taia White. “But I think that the way things are now with the mandates and requirements, even though they may not seem like a lot for some people, I don’t think people will keep up with it. I personally wouldn’t.”

In a recent conversation, White House Medical Examiner Dr. Anthony Fauci said that the recent COVID-19 wave is going in the right direction.

Even though he doesn’t want to get over-confident, he says things are looking better.