Prepare yourself. COVID may be with us for a long time. Think of it like its cousin, the common cold. No vaccine for the common cold has ever been found despite its longstanding menace to the people of this earth. True, many of the world’s brightest scientific minds and billions of dollars are at work now to find a vaccine for COVID-19–far more than ever tried to solve the common cold–but it guarantees nothing. And even if a vaccine is found, it is likely to be in the words of COVID-19 CZAR Anthony Faucci, “finite.” That means it will work for a limited time only. Research continues to demonstrate that antibodies do not appear to be long lasting in those who have had COVID, particularly those who were asymptomatic.
While not enough time has passed to test whether people can be reinfected if antibodies don’t last, it seems entirely possible that you could catch COVID again just like get the common cold again. Maybe sometimes you are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, but particularly as you age, the odds of getting a savage case of COVID might likely increase. The maskless bar partiers who call COVID-19, “the boomer remover” may end up themselves some day in a nursing home at high risk for not just the flu, but for the germ they mocked — COVID-19.
There is still much to be learned about this devious germ, but we may need to start facing this unpleasant fact that it may not go anywhere.
We may just have to learn to live with COVID, moderating our society to reduce risk, while still maintaining some semblance of our larger society. Wear masks, distance when possible, and redesign our society (as we have already started to) with zoom meetings, staggered school schedules, curbside pickups and backyard vacations.
Very few people are taking the possibility that COVID is going last beyond another year seriously. This is particularly true in the sports world where many players are choosing to sit out the remainder of their shortened seasons out of concern for health risks to themselves and their families. That’s fair. No one should have to increase their risk, but I wonder: If the corona risk will be the same next year and the year after that, if these players feeling will change? If COVID is going to be with us for the next five years or more, will players give up five years or more of their careers, not to mention million dollar salaries that may never come to them again. Will they abandon who they are as professional athletes.
Everyday people in EMS, hospitals, nursing homes and other health care professions go to work for a lot less money than pro athletes, and they endure much more risk than their sports heroes. They do it because they love their jobs, they feel an obligation to others, and, for many, they also need the paycheck. So do grocery store clerks, corrections officers, bus drivers, fast food workers and all the others who are keeping our society running.
I am a paramedic. I don’t want to stop being who I am.
We all make our choices. We make the world and the society we want. We live the lives we want. I say embrace the world. Seize the day. Just be safe about it.
As a paramedic, that means, using PPE when appropriate and disinfecting the equipment between runs. It means stripping in the laundry room when I get home, washing all my clothes on high heat, and walking right up to the shower and scrubbing myself clean.
As a parent, it means teaching my children the importance of physical distancing and wearing a mask. It means making certain the situations they enter are as safe as possible.
As a citizen of the world, it means showing appreciation for the lives of all, thanking the grocery store worker, giving a bigger tip to the waitress, valuing the lives of our oldest citizens and those most at most risk, by doing my part to keep the curve flat.
Enjoy each day and appreciate each moment. Don’t let COVID-19 change who we are.