We need to be prepared for the fact that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
It’s the nature of viruses to mutate and adapt in order to ensure the continuation of their existence.
There’s a line from Jeff Goldbloom in the original Jurassic Park movie, “Life will find a way.”
While viruses aren’t exactly living things, the modern scientific world looks at them as in a gray area between living and nonliving. They still have the ability to evolve and adapt to their living hosts in order to find new ways to replicate themselves.
Our doctors and scientists have developed a vaccine for the original virus which surfaced in 2019 in China. That virus circled the globe and affected all of our lives in new and sometimes profound ways.
Armed with the newly developed vaccine, our nation and leaders began a campaign to get Americans vaccinated as soon as possible. Many chose to participate based sheerly on the number of citizens who lost their lives battling the dreaded virus.
Now, we have a new mutation of COVID-19, known as the Delta variant. This strain, also known as SARS-CoV-2, is a mutation which originated in India. Delta is unique in how contagious the particular strain seems to be.
The Delta variant was first detected in the United States in March and by June was the dominate strain spreading among Americans.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called the Delta variant the “fastest and fittest” of the known COVID-19 strains.
In mid-June, the Centers for Disease Control, went so far as to label Delta as “a variant of concern.”
So here’s the good news, individuals who have received their full vaccination against COVID-19 appear to have protection against the Delta variant.
Beginning Wednesday (today), Tate County will host Mississippi State Department of Health’s pop-up COVID-19 clinics. MSDH will be at the MSU Extension Office in Senatobia Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., before moving to the Coldwater Community center Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. The vaccinations will be offered free of charge to anyone over the age of 12.
Now, I understand there are people here in Tate County who have no desire to get the vaccine. I understand there are reservations about how quickly the vaccine was developed. To them I say, the science still supports the fact that vaccinated people are less likely to contract the virus and if they do still contract the illness, they are statistically less likely to develop severe symptoms which would require them to be hospitalized.
Here’s the deal, I’m not a betting woman, but with what we know of how quickly this virus has already mutated and seems to be adapting to our biological and chemical make up, I’d be willing to bet, it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon.
Let’s look at a more familiar deadly virus: Influenza.
According to the National Library of Medicine, the first known pandemic caused by influenza occurred in Europe from 1173 to 1174. From that point forward scientists and historians have traced outbreaks and pandemics circling the globe at different points of time caused by the virus; however, it wasn’t officially discovered and isolated until 1933.
Let’s think about those dates. To put it plainly, influenza has been killing and evolving for over 800 years.
From 2018-2019, it is estimated that influenza killed 34,157 Americans. In the same time frame, it’s thought the virus killed 200,000 globally. So let’s be conservative and say 150,000 people (globally) die every year from influenza. Now consider how many people have lost their life to the disease in the 800 years it’s been plaguing the human race.
Despite the fact the flu vaccine is a routine thing for many of us, there is still a large number of people who lose their lives every year.
With the pace of which, COVID-19 arrived on scene, swept the globe and took us by surprise, I just don’t see it making a very fast exit.
I think it’s here to stay, at least in one variant or another. Honestly, I think we need to prepare ourselves for the possibility, we may end up needing seasonal booster shots against the virus, much like we deal with the flu.
My real question is how long is it going to take for us to calm down and simply accept it as a routine vaccination like we deal with the flu vaccination? I think the faster we take politics out of our health decisions, the better off we’ll be.
Immunizations against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Chickenpox and many more viruses have been a long time requirement for various organizations for decades. Prior to COVID-19, only a small percentage of the population were known as anti-vaxxers and it wasn’t a politically charged movement. Why now have we as a society decided to make this one virus vaccination a political hot topic?
To keep tongues wagging and discord raging. I encourage everyone to take politics away from the subject and use common sense to help save lives. Remember it may not be your own life you are saving, but by stopping the spread by vaccination, it might save a loved one.
Maybe I’m wrong and this virus will disappear soon, but if history serves as a lesson, it’s just not likely.