We don’t need denial. We need to use the tools we have, and a little common sense, to control the spread of COVID-19. We can create a sustainable new normal in reaction to a spring trapped in the house.
Locking America down was the easy part. Opening up again, especially as summer ramps up, was always going to be the harder part.
The COVID-19 coronavirus is now likely endemic in the United States, literally “in the population.” A comprehensive national strategy was required to eliminate or even contain the spread of COVID-19. That didn’t happen. Now the country has mostly opened up, also without coordination.
Since March, President Donald Trump has seen his major campaign talking point, the economy, disappear. He now encourages Americans to stomp around like they can magically avoid getting sick if they just behave as if the virus isn’t here.
There is no value in waving assault weapons at elected officials or at one another. There is no value in gathering in crowds or refusing to wear masks. There is no value, except to Trump’s re-election, in making claims of vanquishing the virus.
Ignoring the danger isn’t a great game plan for living in the future. According to former Harvard Professor William Haseltine, 20 percent of people who get COVID-19 will be asymptomatic or mildly ill. More serious cases may not result in death, but may mean blood clots in the brain, kidney issues that need lifelong dialysis and aorta weakness. COVID-19 can make people really sick for a long time.
A vaccine is not coming over the hill to the rescue any time soon, Haseltine adds. Despite massively funded research and distribution efforts, discovering and adequately testing a vaccine is notoriously difficult and time consuming.
As we move into summer, we all must be careful to avoid the free-for-all created when people pretend the virus has taken a summer break. It hasn’t, and we don’t want to lose the space to breath that we worked hard to create.
Instead, we should create coronavirus bubbles. Let those family members and friends who also pay attention to keeping social distance, wearing masks, washing hands and staying home at the first sign of illness into your bubble. If anyone else asks to come into your bubble, give yourself permission to politely say no. Such bubbles can give us a way to envision a new normal.