Infections, Injections and “Endemic” Projections

Epidemiologists predict the world will go on living with COVID-19 forever. With much of the world still unvaccinated – especially in low- and middle-income countries –mutations of the COVID-19 virus will continue to give rise to new variants for the foreseeable future. 

But even if the pandemic might not be quite done with us, we’re done with the pandemic. 

Last week Denmark became the first country in the European Union to lift all COVID-19 restrictions. Other countries – including France, Spain and the UK – announced similar plans and Austria began taking steps to codify vaccine mandates into law. Top health officials have signaled it is time for the U.S. to strive for a sense of post-pandemic normalcy.

However, some Americans are pessimistic a “new normal” is in sight. The latest Omicron-fueled wave of infections has drastically impacted public attitudes – even dividing those who’ve taken COVID-19 seriously throughout the pandemic – and pushed many to new levels of burnout caused by the constant stress, overwhelming uncertainty and general frustration. Having followed the public health guidance to protect themselves and others for over two years, a growing faction is “vaxxed and done” – resigned and ready to move on from COVID-19. 

Sweeping infections and an uptick in vaccinations and boosters has left the country with a wide range of immunity that could prevent the continued disruption to society and strain on hospitals and healthcare workers. Experts anticipate an annual winter wave of “flu-rona” cases in which one person concurrently tests positive for the coronavirus and the flu – motivating drug companies to start work on a single inoculation against both respiratory illnesses akin to the annual flu shot.