(NewsNation Now) — The swath of immunity left behind by the sweeping omicron variant of COVID-19 could mean this moment of the pandemic is “the beginning of the end,” Dr. Brett Giroir said.

Giroir, who served as the so-called testing czar during the Donald Trump administration, said the end will not register like someone turning off a light switch.

“I don’t think that COVID is going to go away,” Giroir told “The Donlon Report” on Monday. “It’s going to be endemic, but we can live with it if it causes a cold and not many hospitalizations.”

Research suggests omicron is inherently milder, and even more so if it infects someone who’s taken both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and a booster of either. Preliminary studies also show an infection from omicron protects against the delta variant, which made up a little less than half of cases in the U.S. at the end of last year.

Still, Giroir said immunosuppressed people and those with underlying conditions should take precautions, like wearing masks — and you may want to upgrade yours.

“With omicron, cloth masks don’t seem to be protective,” he said. He recommended a surgical mask or an N95 mask.

Overall, Giroir says, there is a lot to be optimistic about, even though cases and hospitalizations are rising.

“I think we’re going to see a dramatic decrease in the severity of this pandemic towards the mid-year,” he said. “It’s hard to predict — never trust Mother Nature with an evolving virus — but I do think we’re in for a good year. I’m very positive about our prospects.”