As Americans began to dream of a third summer coronavirus, their attitudes toward the pandemic changed.
Although infections are four to five times higher than last year, the quest for normalcy is gaining momentum.
According to experts, this is not surprising; Due to widespread vaccinations and treatments, many people no longer see the virus as a threat.
“We have seen that for many people who have not had a very high risk of serious consequences and who have been vaccinated and amplified, COVID is a cold that poses a really serious threat to someone’s health, illness and death. can be cured, ”said Kerry Altoff, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“And, you know, the reality of the matter was that it was part of our goal to work to the level of immunity at the population level,” Altoff said.
A year ago, there was widespread optimism, because the number of diseases was so small that the virus seemed to be on the verge of defeat. However, mitigation measures, such as masks and vaccination requirements, were observed.
Now almost all masks or vaccine requirements have been deliberately dropped or revoked in court. The U.S. produces an average of about 100,000 new episodes every day, but movie studios are releasing summer blockbusters into crowded theaters, families are celebrating weddings, and bars and restaurants are overflowing.
Covid-19 infection has become the new norm for Americans willing to live with the threat.
“People are tired of the changes associated with COVID-19 and want to get back to normal,” said Mercedes Carneton, an epidemiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
“They saw an increase in experience more than two years after the pandemic, and if they knew people with COVID-19, most of them – and that would ignore millions of people – but most of them were cured,” Carneton said.
About 3,500 people are hospitalized per day, and about 300 deaths per day. They are higher than last summer, but relatively low compared to the January omicron growth.
“They remain higher than I would like, they are lower than we have seen in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths so far,” Rochelle Valensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NPR on Wednesday.
“Because we now have vaccines, boosters and antiviral drugs,” Valensky said.
According to Valensky, about 55 percent of the population lives in moderately or highly infected areas, and about 23 percent in highly infected areas.
Currently, the vast majority of circulating variants are the most contagious, and new studies show that previous infections do not provide lasting protection against new strains.
“We are actually urging people living in these areas with high levels of COVID-19 to continue wearing masks in public places to prevent infection,” Valensky said.
Although many people in the country are trying to restore normalcy this summer, not all are the same.
“There is nothing wrong with acknowledging that doing so and the personal risk to you or your family is low. However, there are people who are in those conditions because they have to be, ”Carneton said.
Millions of people are still vulnerable, especially racial minorities and the poor, who do not have the luxury of working from home or avoiding public transport.
“I think it’s easy to ignore these populations and say I’m fine. My family will be fine ‘… because we don’t have leaders who can tell us, for example, the grief and loss that local communities have suffered, ”Carneton said.
According to Johns Hopkins and Altoff, the only way to succeed in the “new normal” is to make sure that people who are disproportionately exposed to the virus do not pass through the cracks.
“This is not the time to quit and scale and rest from COVID. It’s time to learn from what happened … to be hospitalized and continue to move forward, reducing the risk of death. It requires individual decision-making and policy, ”said Altoff.
For example, the Biden administration is deploying thousands of new federal-sponsored “test tests” sites across the country where patients can be screened and prescribed Paxlovid or molnupiravir by a health care provider.
Infectious disease experts say such sites could be an important tool for making treatment accessible, but authorities need to do better to make them accessible to all.
“I’m not arguing that we should return to normalcy, but we don’t think everyone can live a pre-pandemic life,” he said. We need to respect the serious threat that COVID-19 poses to some people in our society, ”Carneton said.