Stop Asking When Covid Will End
“When will we be able to get back to normal?” “When will it go away?” We hear these questions every day from a lot of people, and many parents will immediately recognize the tone of “are we there yet?” I don’t mock these people; I feel terrible for them because they’re living in a world that doesn’t exist.
All those people are concentrating on the wrong thing. We need to stop focusing on hoping it will end and start focusing on learning how to live with it.
There’s something scientists, researchers, and doctors are scared to tell you. They’d get ripped apart on Fox News; their families would be in danger, and perhaps worst of all, they’d cause a panic. But there are plenty of us who have already come to the conclusion. When is Covid just going to go away? In all likelihood, never, not in our lifetimes at least. It will never go away. That doesn’t mean the pandemic will never go away; that means the disease itself is endemic, embedded in our population, and probably will be for anywhere from decades to centuries.
We had a window of opportunity to stop this virus from spreading across the country and becoming part of the story of America. Other recent viruses, from SARS, to Norovirus, to West Nile, to Ebola simply never took off in large numbers in this country for a variety of reasons. Covid could have been added to that list, but that window of opportunity has been gone for a long time.
No one, however, should take that statement to be doom and gloom. It’s extremely unfortunate, but there are other diseases that had us in their grip and have faded into obscurity. In fact, that’s pretty much what happens to all of them.
The 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic was the worst in recent history. H1N1 from an avian source, it first appeared in U.S. military personnel in the spring of 1918. The story of prevention bears a terrifying resemblance to our own: large gatherings were banned, but many people ignored it, and no one questioned the wealthy. Men thought of masks as emasculating, and some refused to wear them. The result was over a third of the world’s population infected and 50 million deaths worldwide. There were 675,000 deaths in the U.S. alone. It hit Chicago the hardest, and the city lost around 8,000…