Is COVID Here to Stay?


During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many around the world were hoping to accomplish a goal of zero COVID-19 cases with practices such as lockdowns and social distancing. However, in the US, it has now been over two years since March 2020, when COVID-19 first started affecting most Americans. Even with the development of the vaccine and its boosters, we are still experiencing new COVID-19 cases every day, albeit lower than before. Bexar county is considered low-risk by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but COVID-19 still exists in the community. Regions in the Northeast are still experiencing rapid COVID-19 case growth, with many surrounding areas considered high-risk by the CDC. The harsh reality is that COVID is likely to stay here for the long run. 

According to WHO officials, if strict actions were implemented early, we would likely be in a very different situation. At the start of the pandemic, countries around the world experienced sharp increases in new COVID cases, followed by several more increases with periods of low COVID transmission in between.

When the world collaborated to rapidly develop an effective vaccine, we quickly saw the positive effects it had on the number of new COVID cases and COVID-related deaths. New COVID cases decreased with a dramatic decrease in hospitalizations and deaths for those who received the vaccine. The distribution of the vaccine seemed promising to soon mark the end of COVID. However, due to missed doses and not everyone getting vaccinated due to lack of distribution/infrastructure in other countries and personal choice, only around 65% of the world population has received at least one dose. In low-income countries, only 15% of the population received at least one dose. Because of the low distribution of the vaccine worldwide, especially in low-income countries, herd immunity, a key factor in eliminating COVID, has not been achieved. 

The use of masks and the practice of social distancing and sanitation can also be attributed to the extended stay of COVID. The lack of masks in lower-income countries and the lack of strict mask use worldwide can also be seen as a factor in the stay of COVID.

COVID will mutate (and has been mutating) just like the flu does. But, the long-term effects of the lack of the elimination of COVID are still not known. For now, the best practice is to adhere to local regulations and recommendations such as receiving the vaccine and the booster shot. At least in Bexar county, COVID cases are very low but are still rising in other areas. 


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