(KAIETEUR NEWS) – As we are beginning to understand more about the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection, it is becoming very obvious that this virus will be with us longer than any other outbreak we would have witnessed in our lifetime.
So what does this mean? How do we cope with this new reality?
Today I’ll give my thoughts on how we may have to co-exist with this virus in the near future.
HOW LONG WILL THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK LAST?
The best current answer to this question depends on how long it takes to get a cure or a vaccine developed for this virus.
Experts have not been able to find a treatment that can cure this viral infection. However, they are making steady progress on developing a vaccine against it. We need to develop immunity to this virus and there are two main ways of doing that.
We can either let loose, expose ourselves to the infection and hope that we survive and become immune, or we wait on a vaccine to be developed that makes us immune to the virus. While the first option may be the shorter route, it has the potential to kill many and overwhelm the system very fast. The safest but longer option, is to take preventative measures and wait until a vaccine is available.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO HAVE A VACCINE?
While there is a race to get a vaccine out for COVID-19, experts project that this may take about a year to 18 months.
Even if a vaccine is available within a year, it will take time to reach Guyana. A vaccine needs to go through many unavoidable steps to ensure it doesn’t cause harm when given. These steps cannot be skipped and will take about 10-12 months to be completed. After that, the vaccine will have to be mass produced to meet the needs of the world. By the time it reaches Guyana, it could be late 2021.
SO WHAT CAN WE DO IN THE MEANTIME?
If we take preventative measures and stay at home, wear a mask if we need to go out for necessity, and we practice good hygiene, we may be able to prevent massive devastation in Guyana.
We can shape our destiny by avoiding the virus. As long as the virus persists somewhere, there’s a chance that one infected person will reignite fresh sparks in places that have already extinguished their fires.
Going head-on with it by allowing free movement of people is a recipe for disaster. This virus loves when people interact with each other. It needs us to spread and we allow it to do that when we socialize or come close to each other.
Our system will get overwhelmed and there will be too many sick people if we choose to move freely and not take preventative measures. Too many lives will be lost and it will be very difficult for the country to effectively recover from such a devastation. We all need to take steps to avoid coming into contact with this virus until there is a cure or a vaccine.
SO WE PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR THE NEXT 18 MONTHS?
While this is the ideal way to prevent spread, it may be unrealistic given our need to socialize and work to survive. For now, we need to continue the measures that are in place. It is highly unlikely that we may be able to return to normalcy in early May.
There may be need for it to be extended for at least another month. If it works and the infection slows down, it may be enough for us to slowly ease the restrictions while we ramp up testing and mask wearing.
The more we test, the more we know what’s going on with the virus, and we will be better equipped to make more informed decisions about restrictions. But as the status quo returns, so too will the virus.
We will all need to wear masks when we are out to minimize spread, and as soon as there is evidence of a surge in the infection, we will have to return to restriction mode. We may have to continue this cycle until there is a cure or a vaccine available later next year.
We need to accept this new reality and adapt to it fast. The faster we react, the better it will be for us. We control our destiny, not the coronavirus. Let’s be responsible citizens and unite for the greater good of us all. Let’s beat this virus; stay home, wear a mask and practice good hygiene!