Covid-19 has been part of our lives since the beginning of 2021, but it seems like a long time since the pandemic began. So different from the average flu or allergy, Covid-19 has one of the highest mortality rates.
Even with the most healthy and hygienic protection from Dettol Pro Solutions, this pandemic took over 6 million people worldwide. And now, as so much of life looks like it did before the pandemic, it’s reasonable to wonder: is it over?
Even today, we continue to witness thousands of new Covid-19 infections arise and daily deaths worldwide. So, is it truly over? And what changes if that determination is ever formally made?
Defining the beginning and end of a pandemic is difficult
When the pandemic began, people desperately waited for it to end. Medical experts from all parts of the world came together to count up conditions that marked a starting line, and once those conditions disappeared, the pandemic would be officially over.
Unfortunately, it’s not that easy.
As strange as it may seem, there is no single, agreed-upon definition of the pandemic that all nations, health organizations, and world leaders use.
The word itself is driven from the Greek words “Pan” (meaning all) and “Demos” (meaning people), which does make sense. A key feature of the pandemic is that it affects everyone.
Let’s look at some other common definitions:
- An outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area (multiple countries or continents) and typically affects a significant proportion of the population (Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary)
- A sudden outbreak that becomes widespread and affects a whole region, a continent, or the world due to a susceptible population (MedicineNet.com)
- A disease prevalent throughout an entire country, continent, or the whole world (dictionary.com)
And even if we could all agree on its definition, no single person, government agency, or public health organization has the authority to declare that a pandemic has begun or ended.
The transition from pandemic panic to acceptance
A common perception regarding the pandemic ending is: when everyone behaves as though it is: no more precautions, restrictions, or changes in behavior compared to the times before these started.
But if that’s true, people are growing weary of restrictions, ignoring recommendations, and creating the impression that the pandemic is over – even if the number of affected people and deaths continues worldwide.
That is where we are with COVID right now.
Many pandemics eventually become endemic, meaning the infection is still present, but its behavior is predictable, and the number of infections and deaths no longer spikes.
Learning to live with a virus is a key feature of any pandemic, but the transition from pandemic to endemic can only be recognized after it happens.
What to do until Covid-19 is completely behind us?
Setting a firm end date for this pandemic doesn’t matter. What matters most is the number of infections, deaths, and the measures we should take to avoid getting infected.
No one can accurately predict whether the coming winter months will bring a decline in infections or a spike in illness and death as more people are inside with precautions.
Here are some common precautions that have proven effective in countering the spread of Covid-19:
- Stay up to date with Covid-19 vaccinations.
- Move indoor activities outdoors.
- Wear a well-fitted mask on your face, especially in higher-risk settings (crowded conditions, indoor settings, or public transportation). Just because masking is no longer required doesn’t make throwing out your masks a good idea.
- Adopt social distancing and keep at least 6 feet away from others while interacting.
- Clean high-touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, switches, desks, phones, toilets, floors, etc., regularly or as needed after gatherings.
- Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with antibacterial soap or liquid handwash, especially if you have been in public, touched public surfaces, or sneezed or coughed.
- Isolate yourself if you test positive for Covid-19 (or if you have symptoms of COVID-19 and haven’t been tested yet). Then, contact a doctor to decide whether you should take antiviral treatment if you test positive for COVID-19.
Experts, organizations, and world leaders may agree one day on a standard definition of “Pandemic” and how to mark its beginning and end.
Policies regarding the pandemic (including financial assistance), and efforts to increase vaccination acceptance, are complicated by suggestions we’re past the pandemic when we’re not.
There’s a lot that’s still uncertain about the COVID-19 pandemic. But, unfortunately, one thing seems clear: we can’t call it fully over yet.