Many have speculated that the virus will continue circulating until the year 2021 when a vaccine becomes available. The question on many people's minds is how much longer until our lives can go back to normal? This is a tough question and I think a more appropriate question is: what needs to be in place for a society to safely start opening up again?
Opening up the society is something that has to happen eventually in order for life to continue in parallel to COVID-19. The goal of any country at this point will be to balance public health measures and economic contingency, with the overall public health of the population being a priority.
The WHO has recently published the criteria for countries to gradually lift suppression measures, or “exit strategies”. This is a quick summary of what needs to be in place before that happens:
Controlling COVID-19 transmission to a level that can be managed and traced.
These new protocols won’t be effective if members of a community don’t recognize the role they play. Wearing a mask, personal hygiene and physical distancing are a choice each person will have to make every time they leave the house. It will not be easy to change our habits and different societies might be more or less accepting of these new constraints. This cautious way of life may be a little daunting at first, but it’s a beautiful reminder of our collective responsibility towards one another. This isn’t advocating living in fear from a virus, it’s advocating pursuing something bigger than our individual interests. Our old ways of life may be gone for now, but hope for a better world is very much alive.
1. Kissler, S. M., Tedijanto, C., Goldstein, E., Grad, Y. H., & Lipsitch, M. Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the postpandemic period. Science. 2020.