After tech giants like Facebook and Google announced plans to officially extend their telework operations (with the former doing so indefinitely) several leading virologists, epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts offered insight into the reasoning.
The development of an effective COVID-19 vaccine won’t guarantee things return to normal. In fact, Thomas Frieden, MD, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believes it will be at least another 12 months before things begin to resemble pre-pandemic America.
“Even with a vaccine, there is no going back to normal anytime soon,” Frieden said during a Workforce Executive Council virtual event this past weekend. “It looks more likely than not that this virus keeps circulating even with a vaccine. COVID is here to stay.”
In light of this, health systems have placed an increased awareness on cluster spreading.
In the opinion of White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, large groups congregating is the most prominent aggravator keeping infection rates high.
The truth is distance is the best countermeasure at our disposal. Masks help, but many experts seem to be uncomfortable with the narrative about masks being the end-all-be-all solution to our corona-crisis.
In some ways, hyperbolizing the utility of masks may cause the public to act irresponsibly while traveling in groups.
Limiting crowd sizes has proved to be challenging for lawmakers–especially those occupying dense cities.
It’s summer, the weather’s great and Americans are bored. You might have seen reports of a party of 700 people at an Airbnb in New Jersey that took five hours for local police to break up.
It’s understandable that Americans are looking for some kind of signal that business can continue as usual, but we haven’t got one yet. The variables are too numerous to say anything conclusive. Maintaining a distance of six-feet, regularly washing our hands, and wearing masks is the best we can do for the time being.
“Most businesses in the country will be hard-pressed to operate in a way they want to schedule when we have ‘houses on fire’ in our communities. I understand the pain and economic suffering, but I don’t see any way we get numbers down regionally,” ”University of Minnesota infectious disease expert Michael Osterholm. “We’ve got to stop this virus activity or there will be fear we will see these peaks, but every time it goes down, it plateaus at a higher level and just comes back again. In many communities in this country, I see no way to operate as they once did.”
Saying nothing of the swell of Americans who will reject a COVID-19 vaccine early on (perhaps understandably) and the ones who will always reject any vaccine cause their favorite celebrity said vaccines give you ED or whatever, vaccines don’t eliminate a pathogen wholesale from a population.
Sporadic infections occur infrequently and irregularly. Endemics demonstrate a constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease within a geographic area. Epidemics denote a sharp increase in the number of transmissions of a disease or more than what’s typically expected for the affected population in that area. And lastly, Pandemics are epidemics that have spread over several countries or continents, affecting a large number of people.
SARS-CoV-2 will likely reveal itself to be one of the first two characterizations. As much as it blows, experts are calling for a moratorium of densely populated gatherings.