LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — COVID-19 is no longer a national public health emergency, but doctors say the virus is here to stay.

The past three years have been extremely difficult. Lockdowns, lost businesses and lost family members.

While the United States has declared the COVID-19 health emergency as over, that doesn’t mean the virus is gone.

The announcement from the U.S. comes one week after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 as no longer a global health emergency.

But doctors will still be vigilant about COVID-19.

“We will not be taking our eye off COVID,” said Paul Entler, Chief Clinical Officer for Sparrow Health System.

Entler says that even though the national emergency is over, COVID-19 will probably be here for the rest of our lives.

“The curve has been flat for 15, 16, 17 months now. COVID will likely be here forever in different variants, and so it’s how do we live it,” Entler said.

He says its possible COVID-19 could become like the flu, where people get a booster shot every year.

“It’s too early to tell, but certainly I know there are different vaccines being geared up for that potential,” Entler said.

The emergency might be over, but Sparrow will still be working around the clock to stay ahead of the virus.

“The key there is trying to stay out in front of the different mutations, which was a struggle early on because it was mutating and by the time a new variant came, the vaccine, the utility, became less effective because people were getting sick with COVID,” Entler said.

At the Ingham County Health Department officials say they’ll still be tracking data on COVID-19.

And since testing for the virus has gotten much more accurate over the years, it will help weed out other illnesses that in the past may have been misdiagnosed as COVID.

“Think about the surges of RSV this fall. Things like that, other respiratory illnesses that we are going to be able to monitor as a group,” said Nike Shoyinka, Medical Health Officer for the Ingham County Health Department.