Little more than two years ago, few people even knew of the existence of COVID-19. The official medical name for this coronavirus that has wreaked so much havoc throughout the world is (SARS-CoV-2). Sadly, one would have to be living under a rock now to claim they do not know about this virus because it has left a horrible trail of severe illness and death (reported at 6,262,843 worldwide as of May 2).
Scientists understand a lot more about COVID-19 than they did in the beginning with the help of massive data regarding levels of severity, those who would be most at risk of death, the effects of various medications, and the introduction of a vaccine. However, the virus has evolved into several variants that continue to outwit scientists.
After two years of widespread lockdowns, mandatory masking in many venues and vaccine demands on many people, the news broke on April 27 that Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been a public health representative for both Presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s administrations, commented on the status of the virus during an interview. According to a Fox News story, Fauci said that the U.S. was “‘certainly out of the pandemic phase.” However, Dr. Fauci also advocated that U.S. citizens who have been vaccinated may need to receive boosters annually and for a longer time than they would otherwise expect to keep infections at a minimum. However, Dr. Fauci’s public pronouncements have been held in suspicion by some news outlets.
The million-dollar question is: “Where do we go from here, and when and should the country ever return to some kind of pre-COVID normal?” There is no doubt that this virus has left an indelible mark on the country’s health landscape and psyche from which it could take years to recover. It is likely to be a health concern for a long time to come.
COVID-19 has caused a frightening number of deaths worldwide. I hope the people who were doubting the realness of COVID are accepting that it is real. Real people are dying. Real people are mourning the deaths of their loved ones.
The Mayo Clinic has estimated the number of COVID deaths in the U.S. at 940,000 out of 78-million known cases reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since the illness made its appearance here at the beginning of 2020. In comparison, the clinic reported the number of deaths from the flu to be approximately 22,000 out of 38-million people known to have contracted the illness in the 2019-2020 flu season. The illness and death estimates stated for the flu by the Mayo Clinic, however, only cover one year while COVID has now been in the U.S. for a little more than two years. However, the differences between contagion and death are still significant.
The fact is that COVID is expected to be with us for a long time with periodic spikes much like the flu. It is important for the U.S. healthcare community to pull together the most reliable knowledge that has been attained regarding the virus. Additionally, individuals must become as informed as possible, with multiple reliable sources, regarding the risks associated with the virus.
Now that the pandemic appears to be lessening, most churches in the U.S. are open. The decision to be vaccinated or wear a mask is left to the judgment of individual people. It could be said that life has returned to some degree of normal. However, there is still the question of how we should behave with more surges on the way.
The best guideline is to consider the risk factors of those around us. It makes sense that if we live with or interact with people who have compromised immune systems or are elderly and most likely to suffer serious consequences from infection, we should do what we can to mitigate that risk by knowing and using the most effective prevention methods.
Here is a little advice from Philippians:
“Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but for the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4, NKJV)
Here I am purposely engaged in living an inspired life.