I spoke with my mother for a bit this week by WhatsApp video chat. It was nice, but certainly does not come close to seeing her in person, hugging her and seeing her laugh right next to me.
Unfortunately, we both agreed that this would have to be the way of things for a long time. Neither one of us can take the risk of travelling just to get in each other’s physical space. It doesn’t make sense as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the US, and especially in Florida where she lives.
She told me that she believes that she won’t live long enough to see things go back to “normal,” and I have to agree with her. She is 78. I’m 58 and I wonder the same thing. Will I ever see a world where the majority of the population does not have to wear a mask, either by law, or out of one’s own fears for safety (i.e., common sense)?
I don’t know. Right now, I don’t see how this ends quickly. Vaccines, regardless of what some politicians believe (or claim, but don’t really believe), will not provide herd immunity. At least not the first go around. Because of two reasons: some people will refuse to take them, and many people will be left on the sidelines for months, if not years, waiting for their dose (or doses).
What will happen is that some people will be immunized for some time—for how long no one knows. The world is seeing reinfections of the virus. It’s rare, but it is happening.
There are also still big debates about how long people who get the virus and recover, actually keep their own T-cell immunity. I’ve not seen any good studies that say it is longer than 6 months. So, how long will vaccine immunity last? Again, know one knows at this point.
So, what I think will happen is that this virus will continue to pass around the globe, reinfecting entire countries for at least a few years, until it has killed a substantially larger number of people, or has passed thru so many people that recently got a vaccine, or who recently had a previous infection, that it dies out—for this instance.
But again, we have to go back to the issue of how long immunity lasts from previous infections or the vaccine. Because even after this thing “dies out,” there is no reason to expect that it won’t come back. The flu does. The common cold does. Measles does. Etc.
Now before you think I am Chicken Little here, I’ll share with you that I studied immunology for a year in pharmacy school, so I’m not a complete quack about this. Not an expert, that is for sure. But I know enough to say that I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
And because of that, I think that the best thing we can hope for is that we all stop this virus in the simplest manner possible. We wear masks. And we wash our hands (a new study just showed that COVID-19 last 5 times longer on the skin than the flu virus). And we practice social distancing.
Yeah, I know a bunch of you think that this interferes with your civil rights. Well, if you want to be part of a society, of “civil”-ization, then suck it up.
Stop acting like wearing a mask makes your life so horrible (you wore one all night long to get candy from strangers when you were a little kid) and stop spouting off the ridiculous things you hear on Twitter or online or wherever, as truth.
Masks do not make people more susceptible to COVID-19. THAT is fake news!
Now, I’d really like to see my mother, face-to-face again. So, please help a guy out, and put that thing on, so that we can all get back to our normal lives a little bit sooner.