COVID-19 may become a permanent part of our lives

Except for smallpox, humans don't have a good record of beating a virus.
Learn the routine.

As COVID-19 infections continue, along with deaths, the pandemic remains a controling force for all of us.

More cases in Floyd County and deaths this week brought the total of infections to 223 with 16 dead. In Floyd, store personnel that looked the other way when someone without a mask entered now tell customers they can’t do so without face covering.

For the third straight day, Saturday’s report from the Virginia Department of Health says more than 1,000 new cases were added to Virginia’s total of infections, which stands t 157,905.

The death toll for the United States was 218,685 at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday. Nearly 7.9 million have been affected in the United States. Worldwide, deaths were 1,073,973 with more than 37 million infections.

Masks are only part of the necessary steps to fight the deadly virus: Frequent handwashing, gloves and social distancing are part of what must be a constant regimen to protect against infection.

Amy and I considered going to see Christopher Nolan’s film, Tenet, before Regal shut down its movie theaters Thursday, but decided we would wait until it streams on one of the video sources. The New River Valley’s infection increases are often double digits, especially in Montgomery County, home to two universities.

I’m getting tested for COVID-19 Saturday in preparation for an outpatient procedure next week. Haven’t had any symptoms but Carilion mandates the tests before most procedures now.

“If there was ever a time when this coronavirus could be contained, it has probably passed. One outcome is now looking almost certain: This virus is never going away,” writes Sarah Zhano in The Atlantic.

She adds:

The coronavirus is simply too widespread and too transmissible. The most likely scenario, experts say, is that the pandemic ends at some point—because enough people have been either infected or vaccinated—but the virus continues to circulate in lower levels around the globe. Cases will wax and wane over time. Outbreaks will pop up here and there. Even when a much-anticipated vaccine arrives, it is likely to only suppress but never completely eradicate the virus. (For context, consider that vaccines exist for more than a dozen human viruses but only one, smallpox, has ever been eradicated from the planet, and that took 15 years of immense global coordination.) We will probably be living with this virus for the rest of our lives.

Coronavirus researcher Vineet Menachery at the University of Texas Medical Branch told National Public Radio recently the best we can hope for is that the virus can be slowed.

“The first thing to remember is that we haven’t been successful at eradicating many viruses at all. Really the lone exception is smallpox, but many of these viruses exist not only in the human population but in animal populations,” he says. “So coronaviruses may be removed from the human population, like SARS coronavirus in 2002, but we know that those viruses or viruses that are similar to it still exist in nature and at any time they may gain the tools to reemerge in humans again.”

Get used to wearing a mask. We may need to do so for years.

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