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When Will the Pandemic Be Over?

It is bad news and some good news.

First the bad news about the pandemic: COVID-19 is here to stay. As shared in the article from Politico below, it will persist into the future and become endemic, but not a pandemic.

The good news, and I hate to say it this way, is that “like the flu” it will be with us and morphing in time. Just as our vaccine experts have to tweak the flu vaccine every year, there will be new variants of the coronavirus to contend with.

When will we get to the point that we are maskless going forward? Perhaps our world has changed in the Western Hemisphere and we will be like portions of Asia where people commonly wear masks when out and about. Not my favorite thought, but I’ve adapted to many other safety precautions and ditched old habits across my lifetime. These include:

  • Wearing a helmet on a motorcycle
  • Wearing a seat belt
  • Flossing my teeth
  • Getting a flu shot
  • Recycling
  • Letting the water run while washing the car
  • Giving up running for walking
  • Having a burn barrel in the back yard to burn trash
  • Burning leaves in the fall (I miss that one a lot!) Memories...
  • Having to unlock my cellphone every time I go to use it
  • Not clicking on every message or email
  • Using a handrail on stairs
  • Haircuts (check the picture)
  • Eating everything in sight and not gaining weight
  • Etc., etc., etc.

With that, read the Politico article below.

Americans are wondering: When the hell is this thing going to end?

This morning in POLITICO Magazine, our health editor-at-large Joanne Kenen tackles the question of “why we can’t turn the corner on covid,” for.

— The hard truth: Joanne writes that the question of when life will return normal is actually the “wrong question,” according to public health officials: “There will be no quick and clear turning point ahead in the Covid-19 pandemic, no ‘X’ to mark on the calendar indicating that the worst is past and we can be confident that going forward there will be fewer cases, fewer deaths, fewer hospitals stuffed to their dangerous limits.”

“The deadly surge currently raging in the Southern states may level off, but as the virus recedes in one part of the country, it may explode in another… It seems the narrow window to wipe the coronavirus completely off the face of the globe has slipped through our unvaccinated fingers.”

— But (and this is a good “but”) we may have found "a manageable middle,” Joanne reports. “[J]ust because we aren’t looking at the best-case scenario, doesn’t mean that we’re now in a worst-case scenario. Instead, according to U.S. Surgeon General VIVEK MURTHY, we’re looking at something in the manageable middle. ‘It is really important that we convey that success does not equal no cases,’ Murthy told POLITICO in an interview. ‘Success looks like very few people in the hospital and very few dying.’

“With all the worry about Delta, he noted, the gains we’ve made are sometimes forgotten or diminished. The vaccines do work, he stressed. Breakthrough cases remain infrequent; few are life threatening.”

— Coronavirus is “here to stay.” “Epidemiologists now expect the coronavirus to be endemic, meaning it’s here to stay. But even if the virus persists, it doesn’t mean a perpetual pandemic. Over time, human immunity will keep growing through vaccination and natural infection; that’s already started. Scientists will develop new treatments. Eventually, Covid can become one of many diseases that circulate, that sometimes even kill, without bringing the world to a deadly standstill. Until then, the challenge is to find out how to co-exist with it, tenuously, as safely as we can.” Read the full piece here.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.
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