When Will Life Return to Normal?

By: Ally Vezendy

Photos: Pexels, Wikipedia, Pixabay

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of grief for people all over the world, but especially in America. As of December 2, 2020 the U.S. has had a total of 14.2 million cases reported, according to the New York Times.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of grief for people all over the world, but especially in America. As of December 2, 2020 the U.S. has had a total of 14.2 million cases reported, according to the New York Times. As case numbers continue to rise in the U.S, people seem to have become negligent of following the CDC’s guidelines. Even though we all want life to go back to normal, there’s no telling when that may be if people do not wear their masks and practice social distancing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci predicts that life will return to normal by the end of 2021, but it will not be easy. He stresses the importance of mask wearing and social distancing, even when a vaccine is ready to be administered. In an interview, Fauci told Healthline, “ if we could get the majority of the community to adopt those health measures together with a reasonably effective vaccine, then we could get the level of infection down so low in the community that by the third quarter end of 2021 we could start thinking in terms of normal” (17). However, if the vaccine is not effective or if there is trouble with the distribution, Fauci thinks it would take much longer for public health measures to get the virus level low enough to return to normal. Fauci also stated that he is aware that there needs to be more public service announcements and more transparency from the CDC in order for people to actually get the vaccine once it is available, since many are already wary of it. If the majority of the population does not receive the vaccine, it almost defeats the purpose of keeping everyone safe.

In the meantime, the public must follow guidelines in order to minimize the spread of the virus. Students and faculty at Marymount have done a good job of wearing their masks and social distancing thus far. Unfortunately, masks will most likely still be required in the Spring, even with a vaccine.

Administering the vaccine will also pose a challenge once it is available, as the ones that are currently in late stage trials require special handling, according to Dr. William Schaffner, who is the current Medical Director at the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. It will also take some time to administer the vaccine. Billionaire Bill Gates believes that life will return to normal in the beginning of 2022 because we would need to produce around 14 billion doses, which would be very difficult to mass produce and would likely stretch us into 2022.

Fortunately, companies Pfizer and BioNTech announced that their vaccines have an efficacy rate of 95%. It was originally expected that the vaccine would only have an efficacy rate of about 50 to 70%, so this is really a huge step in the right direction.

There needs to be a trust in science. Dr. W. David Hardy says that there is significantly more knowledge about the virus now than there was in January because of how much research has been done. Panic has decreased and experts feel much more comfortable now knowing what they are working with.

Getting people to take the vaccine is another issue in itself. Fauci stated that he is aware that there needs to be more public service announcements and more transparency from the CDC in order for people to actually get the vaccine once it is available, since many are already wary of it. Once people start getting vaccinated, we are that much closer to ending the pandemic.

According to an article by William Wan in The Washington Post, only 14 percent of Black people and 34 percent of Latinos surveyed said that they trust in the safety of the vaccine. This hesitance is rooted in the history of America’s negligence of people of color. Many are afraid of being experimented on in a way similar to the Tuskegee syphilis study which lasted from 1932-1972. Another factor taken into consideration was whether or not the U.S. government is looking out for the best interest of minorities. These concerns will greatly affect what happens in the coming months once the vaccine is available to the public, because if the large majority of the population does not receive the vaccine it will be difficult to achieve herd immunity.

In order for life to return to normal, people need to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and wear their masks. Once the vaccine is ready to be administered, people need to trust in science, still wear masks, and get it so that everyone can be protected and we can finally go back to life pre-coronavirus.

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