Covid19 is winning and as most experts believe an effective vaccine will not be ready until well into 2021, everyone will be coexisting with the coronavirus for the next year or longer.
This next phase of the pandemic is about people resetting their expectations and awareness and changing their behaviour. Our ability to coexist with the virus depends on how individuals assess risks and make decisions. Unfortunately, as we see on the news daily, too many people are ignoring advice, and this has led directly to massive increases in infection rates since the first lockdown ended.
We are now in a critical stage which is all about buying time to try and limit the effects of the pandemic, until there are medical tools to effectively treat and immunize against the virus.
Messages from politicians are conflicting with the advice of independent scientists, and in some cases, make no sense. That has created confusion and mistrust and invited people to start making their own decisions with a rapid increase in infection rates, particularly around the behaviour of those in the 18-24 age range.
Since I started writing my blog, the information has since moved on and now the most current case counts are around 400 cases a week, but instead of them being mostly in the 18-24 age range, the cases are now being spread through age ranges, with most not being related to outbreaks. Instead scientists are seeing more community-based transmissions that are related to a lack of mask use, large gatherings and also a lack of social distancing.
Drug developers are racing to find effective treatments and a vaccine. Several countries have launched accelerated programmes to have a vaccine ready for the first half of next year, but many top scientists have cautioned that it could take longer. The World Health Organisation has said they hope there will be about 2 billion doses of a handful of effective vaccines available by the end of next year. That is enough for less than one-third of the world’s population.
However, it is still not known whether future vaccines will provide long-term immunity. If Covid19 is like other coronaviruses, including some that cause the common cold, we might need annual booster shots to ensure continued immunity to an ever-changing virus.
Without a vaccine in place, countries are doing the best they can to contain the virus with short term lock downs to act as circuit breakers, contact tracing and targeted quarantines. But even these measures are a drop in the ocean against the effectiveness of the virus to spread, infect and kill.
As the pandemic rolls on and we’re coming into the winter months, it is clear the virus will not “fade away” without a vaccine, as Trump predicted. The pandemic was never something that would be containable or would disappear. It spreads too efficiently between humans, and at present, on our part, we’re not doing enough to curtail it, and as a result we have little effective control against it.
Since the virus affects the world, the world’s attitude towards handling the pandemic needs to change; countries must start to work together to implement the same changes, including making sure the ‘test and trace’ systems are in place and are working effectively. It is through the ‘test and trace’ system that we will know how much control we have.
Also, how each of us functions in the pandemic needs to change. It’s naive to think, it’s business as usual and we won’t catch it. Going about our business as usual as if the pandemic doesn’t exist, is exactly why we’re catching it.
Source: https://www.taipeitimes.com https://www.whsv.com/