Leaders Doubtful About A “Return to Normalcy” In The Near Future
It’s only been a few weeks since the US enacted social distancing regulations, but Americans are already ready to return to “normalcy” and life as usual.
However, government leaders are saying that that may not be the case.
On April 1, New York governor Andrew Cuomo indicated that the nation would have to deal with the coronavirus’s repercussions for a long time, saying, “I don’t think we get back to normal. I think we get to a new normal.”
The governor also stated that citizens must be responsible for promoting a positive change in a post-pandemic America. He stressed that state governments must work to become more prepared to handle similar trials, expressing his belief that “something like this will happen again.”
“Nobody knows what’s going to happen,” Cuomo said. These words may not be what citizens want to hear, but Cuomo and other leaders admit that they have no answers regarding an end to the pandemic.
The Possibility Of An Early Decline Not Likely
At the federal level, President Trump is urging Americans to continue practicing social distancing and adhering to CDC guidelines to contain transmission. Models show that if individuals comply with these rules, there is a possibility that the coronavirus could decline by summer.
However, experts say that even with compliance and warmer weather, the virus won’t merely disappear. They aren’t getting their hopes up, despite the president suggesting things might “get better all of a sudden.”
Mark Dension, the director of the division of infection disease at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said in an interview with NPR, “This virus is now in thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of locations around the world. And it’s not finished with its human exploration.”
As parasites, viruses need living cells to replicate. But when a large enough population becomes immune (from catching the virus and recovering, or through vaccination), it will eventually die out because it no longer has a host.
Individuals who lack immunity are called “naive,” according to virologists. These immune systems have not learned how to handle the danger that a virus such as COVID-19 poses.
And according to Denison, there are “about 8 billion immune-naive people on the planet.”
This gives experts and leaders cause for concern that if stay at home orders lift and people resume working and regular routines, a second wave of the coronavirus would occur.
Vaccine and Antibody Testing Brings Positive News
President Trump said, “When the virus is gone, people are going to sit next to each other.” While he voices the hope for an end to the outbreak that many share, that time is still a long way off, according to health experts.
Vaccination is the most reliable safeguard against the coronavirus. But testing and development are still in the beginning stages, and it may take a year or more for an effective vaccine to emerge.
Despite the wait, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, thinks it might be possible to relax social distancing restrictions before then, but that doesn’t mean a full return to the way things were.
During an April 6 briefing, he said, “I don’t think that you’re going to have to say that the country cannot get back to a real degree of normalcy until you absolutely have a safe and effective vaccine.”
Brett Giroir is the US Public Health Service Admiral. He told NPR that by May, a test to assess individuals’ antibodies and resistance to the coronavirus would be publicly available. This test will provide health officials with invaluable information by exposing the extent of the virus’s transmission.
There’s no time table a long-awaited return to normalcy. But with broader testing capabilities, as well as antibody testing, the US will hopefully be able to loosen existing measures while still ensuring that if another outbreak occurs, things will not reach the point the country is currently facing.
- Greve, Joan E, and Joanna Walters. “New York Governor Says US Won’t ‘Get Back to Normal’ after Coronavirus.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 1 Apr. 2020, www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/01/new-york-coronavirus-cuomo-us-new-normal.
- Palca, Joe. “Could Society Move Toward Normalcy Before A Coronavirus Vaccine Is Ready?” NPR, NPR, 7 Apr. 2020, www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/04/06/828506423/could-society-move-toward-normalcy-before-a-coronavirus-vaccine-is-ready.