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There Wont Be a Clear End to the Pandemic
Old 09-17-2020, 04:03 AM   #1
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There Wont Be a Clear End to the Pandemic

I think it’s finally dawning on me, “The collective sense of closure we’re all longing for may never arrive. Instead, brace for a slow fade into a new normal.” From The Atlantic:
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The pandemic has rendered many activities unsafe, but thankfully it can’t stop us from fantasizing about them. A common balm that people reach for is the sentence construction “When this is over, I’m going to ____.” It seems to help, if only in a fleeting way, for them to imagine all of the vacations they’ll go on, all of the concerts they’ll attend, and all of the hugs they’ll give, as soon as they’re able to.

Unfortunately, the sublime post-pandemic period that so many are longing for will likely not arrive all at once, like a clock striking midnight on New Year’s Eve. If and when the pandemic is over someday—in the sense that it’s safe to resume normal life, or something like it—pinpointing its conclusion may never be possible. Internalizing that, and mentally bracing for a slow fade into the new normal, might lead to less angst.

Whatever the end of the pandemic might look like, the United States is nowhere close to it at the moment; week after week, hundreds of thousands of Americans continue to test positive for COVID-19, and several thousand die from it. But when the threat of the pandemic does eventually subside, the process will likely be gradual and incremental. “I don’t think there’s going to be, all of a sudden, one day when we can all go make out with people at the grocery store,” Julia Marcus, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, told me. “Our concept of how the pandemic will end is just as oversimplified as the way we’ve approached everything else about it.”

They and many others think of an effective vaccine as a key that unlocks the post-pandemic future. It would indeed provide some relief, but as my colleague Sarah Zhang has written, “it certainly will not immediately return life to normal”; the availability of a vaccine would represent merely “the beginning of a long, slow ramp down.”

The pandemic ends in one person’s head at a time.
And as Marcus noted, “the pandemic has already ended for some people: There are people who feel that this was never a thing. There are people who decided it’s no longer a thing.”

When these personal endings come, they will be cathartic and triumphant, but their individualized nature might deny us a collective sense of closure. There will be no clear moment when we can all move on.
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:10 AM   #2
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Unfortunately kind of agree and yes the pandemic has certainly ended already for some of our friends.
Since when did people make out in the grocery stores?
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:41 AM   #3
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I haven’t been expecting a sudden sharp end to the pandemic simply because of the enormous logistics involved in getting one or more viable vaccines out there and/or a very safe and effective new treatment. We’ve been told it will take probably through Q2 2021 to have access for most folks to a vaccine and they are still in trials, so we don’t even know which one will be available first or if it will be the better one. In the meantime we have to keep taking precautions to avoid outbreaks. At least some seem to have learned their lessons (the hard way, unfortunately) as US daily cases have dropped to half the peak, deaths finally slowed, and school outbreaks have slowed although in many cases they had to revert to online only.

It’s going to take many months once available, maybe at least 6 months, to achieve enough community protection that folks can drop the precautions. In the meantime we’ll keep waiting it out. We still have a memorial service to hold, but due to the pandemic there is no point until overseas siblings can safely travel, and DF’s many friends and relatives can safely attend. That’s when it will finally feel “over” to us.
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Old 09-17-2020, 04:45 AM   #4
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I was able to read the full article, thanks for posting.
I do believe many folks think there will be a specific "ending" "over and done" type of thing, which there won't be.
Even after a vaccine becomes available and I am able to access and receive it, I will continue to wear a mask and socially distance. It will not be 100% effective.
For me, the "end" of the pandemic will be a vaccine and an adequate available treatment, (similar to Influenza vaccine and something like Tamiflu) and worldwide numbers going way down.
I am OK not doing a lot of travel, but, darn, I would like to see friends and family more.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:01 AM   #5
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My nurse friend told me that this will be around for a long time and we all need to adjust to a new way of doing things.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:03 AM   #6
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Thanks for that article. My thinking from the start has been it will be a slow process and the spread will continue. There is no way not to spread with a large percentage that have the virus and don't know it.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:04 AM   #7
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Those getting impatient and frustrated are just going to have to adjust and figure out how they can live with the situation. It’s not going to magically suddenly disappear.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:05 AM   #8
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. In the meantime we have to keep taking precautions to avoid outbreaks.
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My nurse friend told me that this will be around for a long time and we all need to adjust to a new way of doing things.
I expect this to work. Many people in Japanese cities have been wearing masks in crowded places for decades? It became commonplace there, so why not everywhere? Eventually the need for that will diminish.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:31 AM   #9
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I expect this to work. Many people in Japanese cities have been wearing masks in crowded places for decades? It became commonplace there, so why not everywhere? Eventually the need for that will diminish.
+1 The reports on flu in the southern hemisphere back this up. I suspect masks in crowded places like subways will become commonplace. The other thing that would make a big difference would be a highly effective vaccine that everyone (or almost everyone) could safely take. If enough anti-vaxxers refused the virus would still be around threatening infants and anyone that couldn't take the vaccine but those that could would be able to relax.
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Old 09-17-2020, 05:59 AM   #10
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I am certainly going to wear a mask on airplanes and in airports*, and generally in public if I’m not well. Pre-pandemic we used to be pretty good about wiping hands with cleaner after being in a store. We’ll go back to that practice religiously.

I’ve become very good at not touching my face until I wash my hands at home.

*I have too many times caught a cold when traveling in crowded places like airports/airplanes. Hmmmm - also from being around DB’s young children!
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:04 AM   #11
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It is a very serious virus there is no questioning that. I beleive the death rate from positive cases is ~3%. That 3% is an awful thing to happen but I need to look at the 97% that lived and most at this time normal as before.

I have known 4 people that have had it and had no symptoms and no after effects as of now.
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Old 09-17-2020, 06:27 AM   #12
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I said this back in March, and now we have lost 6 months of developing herd immunity, if there is such a thing. You take all the precautions you can, and get on with life. In the long run, we are all dead, and slowly dying, one day at a time. I'm sorry if I'm too blunt, but sugar coating only belongs on cereal.
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:25 AM   #13
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It's pretty clear to me that there will not be any clear end to this pandemic. Even when a vaccine is developed and distributed, many people won't get it, especially if they rush something to development that people feel has not been adequately tested. Most of us will probably wearing masks when in public for a long time to come. There are some upsides to it.......should result in fewer colds, less flu, etc..
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:37 AM   #14
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Many people in Japanese cities have been wearing masks in crowded places for decades? It became commonplace there, so why not everywhere? Eventually the need for that will diminish.
I believe masks will be the norm for a very long time- just ordered two more- but one question nagging at me is why, with the extensive use of masks in China, did the virus proliferate there anyway? Even in early March, I was passing through Lima, Peru airport and I'd say about 50% of the Asian tourists had masks. Maybe not worn by a high enough % of the population in Wuhan?
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:02 AM   #15
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I do think that once a vaccine is approved, it will be the beginning of the end. That end will have a long tail, but for me personally, once I take it, I'm going to start traveling and going to indoor restaurants.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:38 AM   #16
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I do think that once a vaccine is approved, it will be the beginning of the end.
I agree.

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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

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Old 09-17-2020, 08:42 AM   #17
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I am certainly going to wear a mask on airplanes and in airports*, and generally in public if Im not well. Pre-pandemic we used to be pretty good about wiping hands with cleaner after being in a store. Well go back to that practice religiously.

Ive become very good at not touching my face until I wash my hands at home.

*I have too many times caught a cold when traveling in crowded places like airports/airplanes. Hmmmm - also from being around DBs young children!
I agree about airplanes. I have got cold medicine from about 6 different countries we traveled to and came down with a cold.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:52 AM   #18
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According to History.com the Spanish flu lasted 2 years. That's the way I gauge this pandemic. My concern is how do we prepare for the next one or the possibility this one mutates into a stronger more contagious virus. As far as panic, I keep thinking how can I adjust my lifestyle to survive.

I'm panicked about the fires out west. The news footage looks like an atomic bomb landed on them.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:54 AM   #19
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To me, the article is a bit of a straw man because I never imagined any kind of overnight back to normal. I always figured there would be a new normal, and in fact, today, it seems like a new normal. There will be several new normals over the period of vaccine rollouts, presuming safe and effective vaccines are discovered. We all are wired to view the world as static, but it's dynamic. It just changes faster when there's an upset like this.
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Old 09-17-2020, 08:54 AM   #20
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I have grown very leery of what I read in Atlantic magazine. I don't want to get too specific, but let's just say they violate a lot of Jim Lehrer's rules of journalism.

The idea that suddenly this mess will be over and done with is a StrawMan as far as I am concerned. I don't know anybody who thinks that over a period of a few weeks or even months we will be back to January 2020 conditions. Most likely it will take a few years. Perhaps more time for the careless and the anti-vaccine crowd.

We're also learning a ton about how to deal with future new diseases is these days of jet travel and nearly instantaneous spreading of such diseases. This may have been a relatively cheap lesson from the school of hard knocks.
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