As we enter the eighth month of the Coronavirus Pandemic, the world has slowly opened up in a, mostly, safe manner. However, our homebound lives continue to take up the majority of our daily routine. And as we enter this eighth month, which seems like it’s been years at this point, we are all asking ourselves the question… when will this all be over?
The short, but complicated answer is when a vaccine is released. The longer answer is, once again complicated, unknown.
The rush for a vaccine has been swiftly upon us, with no confirmed timeline of when it will be safely distributed. As of now, the fastest vaccine to ever develop has been for mumps, which took four years to complete. While work is moving quickly to create a COVID-19 vaccine, there must be more trials that involve large, diverse cohorts of people have to be vaccinated “while the virus is actively circulating, and monitor them for long term.”
So far there are three vaccines moving rapidly through clinical trials with some evidence that they stimulate the immune system to fight the virus: Cansino Biologics in China, Moderna in Cambridge, MA, and finally Oxford University in collaboration with AstraZeneca.
We can expect that by the end of the year or early 2021, one or more of the vaccines will have reasonable data that the immune response is protected; however, it is impossible to say confidently that the vaccine will truly be completely safe.
More than likely, however, not all Americans might be able to access the vaccine until November of 2021.
But eight months later, despite not being anywhere near the clear, we have learned quite a few things. First, when it comes to COVID and kids, it’s complicated. Initially it seemed as if children were immune by some miracle to the virus; however, while rates of deaths among children and teens remain low, they are not invulnerable. A recent report on COVID infections in children from the CDC showed that while still low, hospitalizations have increased in children since the start of the pandemic. The highest rate of hospitalizations were in children under two years of age.
In addition, people can still test positive a long time after they recover. This is more of a system of testing issues rather than anything. Most testing is conducted using a platform known as polymerase chain reaction, or PCR for short, which looks for tiny fragments of the COVID virus. However, it is clear that those who had mild or uncomplicated infections often times shed the active virus up to 10 days after their symptoms started
And from a more mental standpoint, the virus and the constant homebound state of living becomes tiring, and unmotivating. It creates a sort of feeling that this might never end. It can heighten anxiety and create fear. Some experts even claim that people could have a sort of PTSD reaction to the virus after this is all over.
So what can we do? How can we stay positive and cope when it seems like the world is nothing but negative? First off, take breaks from upsetting content. It is important to make the time to unwind: try relaxation techniques or do some activities you enjoy. The news is constantly filled with nothing but negativity so to step away for even a couple of hours can brighten your mood tenfold.
Staying positive is not necessarily about escapism, but instead the appreciation of what we have, and enjoy the little things in life. Take advantage of the things that you still haven't done eight months down the line, like that book you keep telling yourself you’re going to read or write that story you’ve had locked in your head.
While a vaccine might not be available for awhile, it is imperative to remember that this too shall pass. When exactly it is impossible to tell, but one day our lives will return to normalcy. But until then, we must enjoy our lives as best we can.