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Is COVID Over?
Current situation in the US as we approach 1 million deaths
This is a question we’re hearing more and more every day. We’ve come through the omicron variant phase and now people want to see things come back to normal. We’re still hearing about slight positive increases in specific areas and the possibility of new variants that could surge in the future. We’re hearing about the lockdown in Shanghai, which is startling. Now, as has been the case throughout the entire pandemic, it’s hard to know what the situation really is.
If you attend a large event in the US, there are little or no masks being worn, or mandated. People are aware that they are at risk for contracting COVID among many other viruses and diseases, and a few people choose to wear masks to protect themselves. Most are at high risk for severe COVID and should not be disparaged for wearing a mask.
If you get on a flight, you’re still required to wear a mask, which is puzzling given the science behind mask wearing, air filtration and severe COVID risks. Some jurisdictions are still requiring young children to wear masks, which is also puzzling since they are the least likely to suffer from severe COVID.
The CDC reports the number of vaccinated people as 65%, or around 218 million people. They do not combine natural immunity with this number even though some 80 million people have tested positive. The reason these cases are not factored in appears to be that many of those positive tests are among vaccinated people, so there is a significant overlap, and many people have had COVID more than once.
If you add just half the people who have achieved natural immunity by contracting COVID and surviving, the total is up to 265 million in the US. This does not account for the millions of people coming across our southern border who may have, or have had, COVID.
Over 80% of severe COVID cases and deaths are among the unvaccinated and people with multiple underlying conditions, as stated by the CDC. That makes sense, especially given that severe COVID and COVID deaths have always been largely among people with other conditions. It’s hard to find the exact data and make sense of it, but it appears that as much as 90% (maybe 99%) of vaccinated people dying from COVID have multiple underlying conditions.
We are still seeing over 25,000 positive tests per day in the US and nearly 500 deaths per day. That seems like a lot of cases. They are mostly unvaccinated people who do not want the vaccine. That is a choice they have made based on their own beliefs and understanding. Everyone has the same information available so everyone can make up their own mind how they want to handle their own decision making.
Where does that leave us?
If you do the math, 500 deaths divided by 50 states is about 10 COVID deaths per day per state in the US. As of now, I know many people, including myself, who have contracted COVID, some of them multiple times. None have become seriously ill, or perished as a result.
It seems to me that the people in the US have done the hard work to overcome the pandemic. Will people still contract it – yes. Will people still die from it – yes. But, it seems that, for all intents and purposes, people feel secure that the pandemic is not what it once was, and not something to disrupt their lives for.
Does that mean it’s over?
It’s going to be hard to choose a point at any time when we can declare the end of COVID. Coronaviruses are always around, and CoV2 will likely be around for years to come, if not forever. How bad it will be is impossible to predict. But, the vaccinations and natural immunity are a large part of why people are feeling a lot more secure. And, the unvaccinated are secure in making their own decisions.
The Omicron variant caused a huge setback, and there are likely to be other variants. Nobody knows what they will cause, but most people are approaching life mostly as pre-COVID normal, and as humans are inclined to do, they are being more responsible but moving forward without the fear we once had.
We have also learned a lot about combatting viral pandemics over the past few years. That will bode well if we are faced with another variant, or a different viral pandemic.
The price of safety is always eternal vigilance. Safety is in our hands every day. Don’t walk out in traffic, don’t overdose on drugs, and visit your doctor when you’re sick. When it comes to COVID decide what the risks are and conduct yourself in a way that protects you, your family, your friends and other people.