COVID-19: A New Normal

by Michelle Sun ’24

Source: ABC News

Published Mar. 20th, 2021

It has been over a year since China first detected the pneumonia-like sickness we know now to be COVID-19. While the United States really began to experience the effects of this virus in mid-March of 2020, it goes to say that everyone has been affected by this pandemic. With a vaccine on the rise, it’s about time to understand when life might return to normalー or something close to it, at least.

The issue is that experts don’t exactly know when life will return to the way it was years ago. Dr. Anthony Fauci, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director, adds that the future of the condition of this virus is still unpredictable in terms of how successful the production of vaccinations is, so he could not make a judgment as to when the pandemic will be “over.”

Experts say that COVID-19 might become an endemic disease that will inevitably remain in our global community. Dr. William Schnafer of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said, “We need to control it. We need to diminish its impact. But it’s going to be around hassling us for the foreseeable future. And by that, I mean — years.” However, this is not an out-of-the-ordinary situation, as even before COVID-19 endemic diseases like the flu and Measles were common despite developed vaccinations. 

Dr. Anita McElroy of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine adds that, even though there might be a vaccine distributed, those who choose not to be vaccinated will be the “pockets of the population where the virus continues to spread and be susceptible.” This only adds to the aforementioned fact that there is a significant chance that life will not go back to what constituted normal in previous years, just as many of us had hoped.

Maybe we should give up on the idea that life will return entirely to the pre-pandemic era and instead adapt and get used to the new era when this virus is controlled better. Adjusting to a new life with the COVID-19 pandemic under control could include the normalization of getting annual COVID-19 vaccines just as we do with the flu or a more common distribution of masks for Americans. 

Nonetheless, while life may not be entirely the same as it was pre-COVID-19, there is no absence of hope either. According to Fauci, the pandemic “may or may not be precisely the way it was in November of 2019, but it will be much, much better than what we’re doing right now.”

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