WASHINGTON, DC, Aug 20 — Here we go again. Just when we thought we were safe, a new Covid variant has surfaced. Those few weeks of freedom when we didn’t have to wear our masks, when we could socialize after a year and a half of isolation, felt pretty good. It lifted our spirits, promising a return to some semblance of normalcy. But that promise was broken, and we are once again victimized by the pandemic. So, what does the future hold?
“We got through it the first time, and we will get through it again,” says Rebecca Weber, CEO of the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC]. “After all, America’s senior citizens led the way in the first round of the battle with the coronavirus and are ready to show us the way to go on fighting in the face of adversity. They don’t call them the “greatest generation” for nothing, having lived and led us through some of the most threatening moments in our nation’s history: the Great Depression, World War II, Korea, the Cold War, and, of course, the Polio epidemic.”
That’s not conjecture; it’s the truth backed up with multiple studies that have been made since the pandemic began. The research shows that the older you are, the better able you are when coping with Covid induced anxiety and depression, the reason being that they’ve “been there and done that” when it comes to dealing with adversity. And that’s probably due to the fact that we are not born knowing how to be resilient when times get tough; it’s something you have to learn as you age.
According to one report by the University of British Columbia and published by Science Daily, “Our findings provide new evidence that older adults are emotionally resilient despite public discourse often portraying their vulnerability. We also found that younger adults are at greater risk for loneliness and psychological distress during the pandemic.”
During the Polio epidemic, which lasted for almost a decade, from 1949 to 1960, tens of thousands of children died or were paralyzed by the virus until Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine became available in 1955, and by 1960, the disease was all but eliminated. The Atlantic reports, people “stopped handling money, and some refused to speak on the telephone, believing that germs traveled through the transmission lines” during that epidemic. Polio was crippling and killing at record numbers, mainly among children. Then, as now, quarantines were imposed, and it took its toll on travel and commerce.
So, what are the near-term prospects for the Covid crisis?
The question was put to the folks at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which asked several teams of modelers to provide an answer.
Justin Lessler, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins, led the effort, and here’s what they came up with:
“In three of the four scenarios, we see cases going down and staying low, deaths going down and staying low, and hospitalizations going down and staying low. If we have low vaccine hesitancy, or we’re very slow and cautious in how we ease back NPIs, that’s where the models send us. We level off at lower numbers [of cases], and they get lower a lot faster if you both keep some control in place and have high vaccination. If we’re high on either dimension [NPIs or vaccination], numbers go down … But if we have low vaccination and quickly roll back the NPIs, then we start seeing resurgences in the fall.” [NPI stands for nonpharmaceutical interventions such as mask-wearing, both mandated and by individual choice; restaurant capacity rules; and even personal decisions about whether to go out and do activities as before the pandemic occurred.]
In other words, we’ve got a pretty good chance of our seeing a happy ending to the drama that is Covid. So, “as Betty Davis once said, ‘fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.’ In other words, we’ll get through this, just the way our nation’s senior citizens persevered during the trials they suffered in the last century,” as AMAC CEO Weber explained.
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