The Pandemic: A Look Ahead

Elizabeth Graff, Reporter

The notorious year of 2020 was known for many different controversies and instances of chaos, but the Covid-19 pandemic may be the most notable. Since the first day of lock down, March 20th, people have been asking the same question: “When will the pandemic end?” Although there is no clear answer to this question, there is hope for life to eventually return back to normal. A glimmer of hope is found in the fact that humanity has suffered through multiple epidemics in the past century and has managed to recover.

Before even considering an answer to this question, it is important to address the steps that the world must take in order to decrease cases and make an effort to save lives. Although it may be easy to pretend like this crisis no longer exists, in order to ensure that citizens’ daily lives will return to normal, there are precautions that must be taken. One measure that has been discussed is herd immunity, or waiting the pandemic out. However, this can sacrifice many lives in the process and is an unreliable and lengthy process. Although, if someone were to contract the virus and then recover, their body will develop antibodies that fight off the virus, this is only temporary. Experts do not know how long these antibodies last. Besides, viruses mutate and change, so antibodies that may fight off one strand of Covid, may not fight off another strand that develops. It can take several years for herd immunity to work; thus, it is not a plausible solution to this global issue. Another measure that has already been explored is containment. In early spring through mid-summer, the United States was on lockdown to prevent spreading the disease. Because the virus is airborne, it is almost impossible to contract Covid if one stays at home. This is proven to work because the cases of Covid critically decreased during lockdown and stayed in the lower numbers. However, the desire for social interaction and normal life, as well as employees who could not perform their jobs from home caused the severe lockdown measures to crumble. To ensure that you will not contract the virus, you and your family members should stay at home. However, not all people have the privilege to do so. The ultimate step to end the epidemic is wearing a mask. When leaving the house to see people outside of your immediate family members, wearing a mask can protect you as well as other people from spreading the virus. Even if you do not feel sick or have been staying at home, masks are a fantastic preventative measure to take. In addition to wearing masks, social distancing is a great way to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Especially when indoors, staying six feet away from others and wearing masks will help to keep everyone safe, as well as help to guide life back to normal.

Now, to answer the question, “When will the pandemic end?” Dr. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, offers a potential answer. With the new development of vaccines, if these are distributed to 75 to 80 percent of Americans, the country should be able to reach herd immunity in the few months succeeding. This also depends on how quickly the vaccines are produced and distributed. There is not a solid answer to when this number of people will receive the vaccine. However, there are hopes that this number will be reached by the end of 2021. Dr. Fauci says, “we may actually have enough herd immunity protecting our society that as we get to the end of 2021, we can approach very much some degree of normality that is close to where we were before.” Harvard Medical School Dean, George Daley adds, “Vaccine mistrust is dangerous, but so is overconfidence. We need to be wary of the dangers of magical thinking, of seeing vaccines as a silver bullet. Vaccines will not offer an overnight solution. We have to temper our optimism with a dose of reality and brace ourselves for many more months of infection prevention and distancing measures as the vaccines are rolled out.”


Now, what life will look like after the pandemic is a tough nut to crack. Depending on what happens in the near future will impact the results of the more distant future. If vaccines work in the way that they should and do the job of creating immunity, life will return somewhat back to normal. However, a few minor changes will most likely be implemented into society. Some of these might include more work from home, fewer small businesses, and more electronic health appointments. On the contrary, if the virus is still a threat to society, more severe permanent changes might be apparent. These include changes in patterns of where and how people live and work, changes in the housing market, changes in interior design, as well as less mass transit and more cars.