“Endemic.” Sounded scary. Still does. But it may be the only path out.
Could we have finally, and quite unintentionally, stumbled toward the pandemic exit?
Here’s the hope. Yes, Omicron is everywhere. We are told that everyone has been or will be exposed to it, and that a large majority of Americans have been or will be infected.
That would appear to suck.
But clinical evidence is mounting that Omicron, while much more transmissible than Delta, is less pathogenic. Cases are milder, leading to a smaller percentage of hospitalizations and deaths. That’s a good thing, although we must always remember that a smaller (or even small) percentage of a big number is still a big number. And these “numbers” represent human beings.
So, here’s the hope. Universal exposure and rampant infections in the weeks or months to come (among both the vaccinated and the unvaxxed) combined with the millions of Americans who survived earlier bouts with COVID, combined with a continuing vaccination campaign, combined with other mitigation measures like masks, might FINALLY produce a level of at least partial herd immunity that could finally lead to a return to something resembling “normal.”
Yes, the above paragraph is complex, hypothetical, winding, jumbled and founded in part in wishful thinking. That was on purpose.
But we’re saying there’s a chance, right?
And I’ll take it.
We have to hit a bunch of lottery numbers. But it appears we may at least have a ticket.
However. To extend my admittedly lame gambling metaphor, here’s where we could crap out. Remember that Friday morning not very long ago when we all woke up and heard the word “Omicron” for the very first time?
The rosy, glass-half-full scenario that could save us from ourselves assumes that yet another, and more deadly, variant will not emerge. The last two years have taught us that assumption would be a very bad bet.
Endemic. COVID is here to stay. Our crazy, drunk uncle ain’t leaving. But maybe we can lock him up in the tool shed and shove his meals under the door.
A boy can dream, can’t he?
I’ll leave you for now with this thought. How ironic (yes, here’s an example of “ironic” being used correctly) would it be if the thing that finally got us out of this soup turned out to be dumb luck?
Because we have proved beyond a doubt that we lack the discipline and knowledge to think our way out of this plague.