We were less than a month into 2020 when the world, in general, was blindsided by the news of a virus that was, at that stage, still mostly affecting people and communities in South East Asia. Before too long, it became clear that not only were we in a pandemic, but that it was worse than any we had seen before (assuming we didn’t live through the Spanish flu of the late 1910s, anyway).
As things stand, we are now at a point where some countries are scaling down their response to the virus. Lockdown conditions are being relaxed in some nations in Europe and US states. However, all of this is being done in the broad acceptance that we cannot be sure there will not be a second peak and that because this is a novel virus, we don’t know what’s going to happen next. So it is worth looking, at this stage, at a few key questions as we hope to get the upper hand on this illness.
Are we any closer to a vaccine for the virus?
It depends on whom you listen to, but the possibility of a vaccine being ready by this autumn is one that has been dangled tantalizingly in front of us. It would certainly be good news for businesses – picture what Christmas would look like if we’re under quarantine – but any optimism at this point needs to be tempered with some realism. We’re in the very early days as regards a vaccine. One Massachusetts-based lab is reporting encouraging results from early tests, but in a best-case scenario, they would hope to have the vaccine ready by January. That’s still some time away.
How soon can we visit relatives again?
The true answer to this question is that it depends where you live – laws on this differ by state – but the fact is that relatives older than 70 and those who are immunocompromised are under greater threat, and will remain so until a vaccine is found or infection rates fall away from themselves. As the issue of coronavirus in nursing homes demonstrates, major caution is required to keep older friends and family safe – so keep finding innovative ways to stay in contact. It will be worth it when the time comes that we can move more freely.
Is it true that children can’t get sick with Covid-19?
No. Not only are there examples of cases worldwide where young children have fallen ill and, tragically, died from the virus, but there is increasing evidence that Covid is linked to a condition known as “Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome” (MIS) – a painful condition that attacks multiple organs within the body. Children seem to be less likely to contract Covid-19, and less likely to be severely affected, but neither of these facts means they won’t catch it or get sick if they do catch it. It is still vitally important that children observe correct distancing and handwashing protocol – we’re far too early in the timeline to be able to say any different.
At present, we aren’t in the right place to say that Coronavirus is or will soon be defeated. But being vigilant means that we can still enjoy ourselves and have a chance of getting through this together.