#194: No, the Pandemic is Not Yet Over

I get it. Covid sucks, and we all – including myself – would like to return to normality. After all, don’t we have vaccines and treatments? Doesn’t psychological damage count too? How about the economy, about our democracy? Can’t we just say, this is it?

Reality is what it is no matter what you wish it to be. We may all be (metaphorically) sick and tired of this situation, but we can’t make up reality.

At currently approx. 430 Covid deaths each day in the US (90 each day in Germany for a European comparison), this is far from over. As to vaccination, in the US, by today, 79% have received at least one dose, 68% are “fully” vaccinated, meaning 2 doses except J&J’s one does, but only 33% are boosted (USA Facts). Yet unless you are boosted, you will have waning immunity. As to immunity after infection, it is still not clear whether natural immunity is equal to vaccination – possibly not, but immunity due to infection may be more specifically directed against one concrete variant, whereas vaccination can have a broader effect, but I am no immunologist or epidemiologist. Let’s just say, with the number of death, we can’t be quite successful yet.

Who is still dying from Covid? Aren’t they older, with preexisting conditions, or those who reject vaccination? So what? I know people who are vaccine or even Covid deniers, but all that means is that they are misinformed, possibly victims of deliberate propaganda (sometimes aligning with Russian propaganda), but does that mean we give up on them? What preconditions should be punishable with death, at which age are you too old for us to care? This smacks of rather uncomfortable patterns of deeming some people more worthy to live than others.

Aside from death, the danger of Long Covid is real, but also there, we need more data.

So, what am I saying?

Don’t lie about reality. We are still in the midst of this pandemic, certainly nationally, definitely globally. We may be on the path towards things becoming more normal, but it is not over. Make it normal for people to be able to protect each other, enable working from home, show care, encourage or mandate mask wearing where needed (crowded spaces indoors and very crowded spaces outdoors, especially those that people cannot easily opt out of using) and do not ridicule or demonize those who still need to care about this.

Furthermore, you may be able to say, I got this, fully vaccinated and boosted, bring it on. What about others around you however? Some live with older or vulnerable relatives or friends, and they will be forced by circumstances to be more careful. Similarly, some live in such cramped and stressful circumstances that they have no patience for this anymore and tend to want to deny reality – but their real pain is their actual circumstances even pre-pandemic.

Are we a loving community where we take care of each other, or do we even aspire for that to be a model?

When President Biden says that the pandemic is over, what signal does this send? Done with vaccines? No more masking? Everyone abandon all caution? If you are careful, you’re seen as a fool? Should we now indeed rush in like fools?

Please, everyone, be careful, be kind, be brave, be considerate, and look at reality objectively. This too shall pass, but declaring victory prematurely will only prolong this misery.

p.s. I am a social person. I do not like being stuck at home. I like to be with people. Just sayin’, in case you assumed differently… I am double boosted, and yet still got covid – during a necessary medical procedure. I am alive, but not quite the same. Long Covid is real, it is weird, and don’t underestimate this, my friends!

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