I feel like it shouldn’t have to be said, yet here we are. Some states that have begun reopening are already experiencing a surge in new cases. It’s not necessarily the fault of reopening, since COVID-19 has an incubation period of anywhere from 6-26 days and can be carried asymptomatically, but it is important to be cautious. People are justifiably excited to be able to leave their homes, go to gatherings, and socialize again, but right now this is a privilege. We will lose this privilege if people aren’t smart about it. Currently there is no confirmed treatment for COVID-19 and a vaccine is at least a year away. Testing is still limited, which makes reopening even riskier by default.
Please continue to wear masks, wash your hands, abstain from touching your faces, and practice social distancing. Follow the CDC guidelines for prevention measures and staying at home if you’re at-risk/experiencing symptoms, and follow your works’ guidelines for sanitary procedures and no-contact service if applicable. It’s important to use common sense, listen to doctors + scientists, and NOT PANIC. However, it is also important to keep in mind that COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus not seen in humans before. Viruses and illnesses that transmit from animals to humans are complex and mutate quickly, so this is not just the flu. It needs to be taken seriously by everyone if we are to prevent dragging this out for years.
Furthermore, the likelihood of COVID-19 “dying out” or “running its course” is low. SARS and MERS are still around years after their outbreaks, but have not really been discussed until now because there are treatments and vaccines. It will likely continue to be a seasonal threat after it’s lost its pandemic status. This doesn’t mean that it has to be feared forever, just that it will likely become a part of daily life just as many other strains of coronavirus and other respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
Finally, the economy WILL recover. Life WILL become “normal” again, albeit with some changes. We will pull through this and see our friends and families again. We will be able to hold memorials for those we’ve lost during this time, whether it was to COVID-19 or other circumstances. It’s okay to not be okay right now, just keep holding on. We all need to bite the bullet in order to get through this, but it will be worth it 1-2 years from now.