CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- It has now been three years since a pandemic was declared for the virus that causes COVID-19.

This week marks the anniversary of the global health emergency. Dr. Costi Sifri with the University of Virginia Health System says although society as a whole has managed, the last few years need to be taken as a big learning lesson.

"There are many important lessons that have been learned and I think we need to be diligent in taking times like this to take a look back, understand what we did well, what were the missed opportunities, and how we are going to try and address that in the future," he said.

Sifri says clear, concise, and thoughtful communication by health professionals throughout the pandemic was and remains a challenge, leading to a lot of public confusion. Communicating better, he says, will increase trust between the two communities.