COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, even after two years of the pandemic and the Omicron outbreak. It is almost certain that the virus will continue to mutate, evolve, spread, recede, and then start the whole process over again.
As we grapple with this “new normal,” our governments, medical institutions, and we, as individuals, will need to learn from the past and adapt to the reality of COVID-19.
Will COVID-19 be with us Forever?
During the early stages of COVID-19, nations attempted to contain and eradicate the virus. The recommendations from health experts and governments changed at a dizzying rate, covering everything from lockdowns to mask mandates to social isolation. Pharmacists and scientists raced to develop a vaccine in an effort to eradicate the disease.
Vaccines offered hope that COVID-19 would wither away if it couldn’t find enough hosts to incubate and spread.
However, that hasn’t happened. COVID-19 spread despite lockdowns. Despite vaccines being available, not everyone got vaccinated, allowing COVID-19 to spread and mutate into forms that can infect even vaccinated people, though vaccines continue to be the best defense, reducing severe illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths compared to people who aren’t vaccinated.
What does this mean for COVID-19? Our lives will be impacted by this virus for a long, long time. There won’t always be pandemics. The average pandemic lasts two and a half to three years. But the virus doesn’t go away. Instead, people usually move on socially before the disease is over
Masking or vaccines? Which will stick around the longest?
We can’t use past pandemics as a guide for what to expect after this one. 1918 was the most recent pandemic of a similar style. It was a different world back then, with slower travel and fewer people.
People stopped wearing masks within a few years of the 1918 flu pandemic. COVID-19 is likely to stick around, so masking won’t last forever. The widespread use of masks will likely stop sooner than expected.
As long as masks are part of the new normal, we should still use common sense. Unnecessarily polarized and political, the mask issue has become. Some people refuse to wear them entirely. Other people wear face masks all the time, even outside when no one is around. Somewhere in the middle is probably best.
Masks aren’t always necessary when there are fewer people around, but a mask is still recommended in crowded areas.
Regular booster shots will probably always be part of life going forward. It is likely that periodic boosters, like seasonal flu shots, will be the norm, though we are not sure how often they will be needed.
This vaccine is very safe. It is certainly safer to be vaccinated and boosted than to catch COVID-19. You should get fully vaccinated and boosted if eligible, especially if you are at risk. You should seek treatment as soon as you contract COVID-19. There are now treatments that can prevent hospitalizations in people very effectively.
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