If you thought coronavirus was no big deal or if you thought it was going to go away, wake up.
Your life is about to change.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, issued a disturbing warning during a White House briefing Tuesday: Americans everywhere need to change the way they live their lives. Right now.
“We would like the country to realize that as a nation, we can’t be doing the kinds of things we were doing a few months ago. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a state that has no cases or one case,” Fauci said.
The biggest change has been more subtle. While the first shutdowns were a shock to the national conscious, a similarly seismic shift in the pandemic hasn’t commanded the same attention: We appear to be standing on the edge of the endemic phase.
Although the line was clear entering the pandemic, it will be much fuzzier as we approach endemicity. A disease is considered endemic when it is a “constant presence … within a given geographic area or population group.” It would also be predictable in its rate of spread without causing the level of disruption it does in a pandemic.
But what is considered disruptive may be very different in one country compared with another, even from one person to the next. Progressing into this next phase will be based on a blend of science and judgment.
Learning to live with Covid-19 rather than eradicating it is a tough pill to swallow. But for many, this may be the moment when we can start to get back to our regular lives.
“Thanks to the progress we have made this past year, Covid-19 need no longer control our lives,” Biden said as he acknowledged that Americans are “tired, frustrated and exhausted” with the pandemic.
We’re all going to experience this next phase differently. Healthy young Americans who are vaccinated and boosted, for example, are set for a return to something near normal.
While not all have conditions that leave them severely immunocompromised and vulnerable to severe Covid-19, about 61 million adults — roughly one in four in the US — have some type of disability, according to the agency.
More than 3 million children had a disability in 2019, according to the US Census Bureau.
What are the numbers saying? As the last two years have made clear, predicting what’s around the corner is a dangerous game. That said, the numbers in the US look good at the moment.
These positive trends could mean the US will see a normal or at least near-normal spring and summer (future variants depending, of course).