Some European countries such as Spain are making tentative plans for when they might start treating COVID-19 as an “endemic” disease, but the World Health Organization and other officials have warned that the world is nowhere close to declaring the pandemic over. With one of Europe's highest vaccination rates and its most pandemic-battered economies, the government is laying the groundwork to treat the next infection surge not as an emergency, but as an illness that is here to stay. When the coronavirus pandemic was first declared, Spaniards were ordered to stay home for more than three months. For weeks, they were not allowed outside even for exercise. Children were banned from playgrounds, and the economy virtually stopped.