It’s Not Inevitable That Everyone Will Get COVID-19
And over the holiday break, I learned that five friends — who all had been taking precautions seriously — have contracted COVID-19 since mid-December. Some of them are immunocompromised.
All of this has pushed me back into isolation like early in the pandemic. I feel overwhelmed, as if the situation will never end. Too many people still won’t acknowledge that the only way to end the pandemic is to behave responsibly and follow public health recommendations that have been in place since the beginning.
As someone with cystic fibrosis and diabetes — two conditions that put me in the high-risk category for serious COVID-19 outcomes — the prospect of contracting this viral monster has dictated every choice I’ve made since March 2020.
I’m not a public health expert, and I don’t have all the scientific answers, but I think we need to reprioritize how we talk about the pandemic and how we address it as a society.
Consider, for instance, how the latest variant, omicron, is being described by some in the media as “mild.” Some have criticized media reports for focusing only on the bad news of the pandemic, but there’s also a risk of soft-pedaling things, particularly when so many people refuse to follow recommended precautions. There is nothing “mild” about being seriously ill or having long-term symptoms.
Talking about the pandemic as if it were over, or as if everyone inevitably will be infected, doesn’t encourage people to adopt the behaviors that will help to put an end to it. Instead of pretending that life has returned to some version of normal, we should be talking about what we can do to actually get there.
The good news is that scientists know more about the novel coronavirus now than they did two years ago. For example, we have evidence that mask mandates help to slow its spread. And scientists know that low vaccination rates can lead to new variants emerging, which is the logic behind vaccine mandates.
New mutations of the coronavirus could render current vaccines ineffective, which would set us back to where we started.
Fellow Cystic Fibrosis News Today columnist Kate Delany also has advocated for a shift in our approach toward fighting the pandemic here in the U.S. And social media is full of people — many with underlying conditions — who are begging others to be more careful.
If the majority of the public could be convinced that protecting the most vulnerable among us is worthwhile, we could finally get this pandemic under control. Vulnerable people shouldn’t be left to deal with it on our own while others ignore sensible safety measures. And we shouldn’t have to accept that COVID-19 infections are inevitable.
The only way out of this mess is to get through it together. And that means acting in the best interest of the most vulnerable among us.
Note: Cystic Fibrosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cystic Fibrosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cystic fibrosis.