Thoughts on Long-term Lifestyle/Societal outcome(s) from Covid

Depressingly, and thanks to the anti-vaxxers and vaccine hesitant, and the distribution of poor countries around the world, I don’t see how the general situation will get any better than it is now, Covid-wise.

I foresee the rest of my life (~25 yrs to go) prudently requiring, at minimum, masking requirements for indoor spaces and outdoor confined and crowded spaces, with boosters at varying intervals. These requirements could, from time to time and depending on the mutations percolating amongst the unvaxxed, become harsher and more stringent but, sadly, I don’t see the situation ever getting any better than it is now.

Thoughts of the teeming millions?

I think the majority of anti-vaxxers will begin to relent and quietly get vaccinated. Those who are vaxxed will continue to receive booster shots. It will just become a way of life - no different than those who have been diligent about getting the flu vaccine every year, but now on a grander scale. As for masks, they will slowly fall out of common use as people accept the new reality that there is a virus that isn’t going away but is not very likely to kill you.

I see boosters, but nothing else. There’s no public appetite for long term lifestyle changes, even when prudent.

COVID isn’t special in terms of viruses or disease. What’s making it different is that it’s effectively a new virus that NOBODY was immune to back in late 2019/early 2020. So at first, it was going to spread without any real hindrance through the population, as there was no immunity to it.

Eventually enough people will end up mostly immune one way or another (either via vaccination or catching COVID) that it won’t spread very fast or hardly at all anymore. Or the disease itself will mutate into something less lethal or less transmissible. It’ll happen at some point- that’s what happens in all pandemics. The Black Death eventually ended, and so have the various influenza pandemics over the past several centuries.

That was the pie-in-the-sky hope with the vaccines- that enough people would get vaccinated fast enough that we could sort of jump the line and not have a LOT of people catching it and a smaller, but significant number dying as a result. That didn’t come to pass, for reasons we’re all aware of.

What will end up happening is that once we hit a certain point of immunity in the population, the spread will be extremely low, and basically it’ll be treated much the same as say… the flu. People will get periodic vaccines against the variants that are in play, and the unvaccinated will just get sick and deal with it. Nobody will have to wear masks or social distance or any of that- there won’t be a need.

This will happen in rich and poor countries, with the main distinction being how the immunity is acquired- richer countries will have higher vaccination rates, and poorer ones will have higher rates of people catching it and surviving.

Ultimately it will be endemic- it already is. But what we’re seeing right now is the Delta variant ripping through the unvaccinated. This is unfortunate and largely preventable, but at some point fairly soon, enough of the “right” people will become immune (right in the sense of people who are very mobile and social and spread the disease effectively), and the spread will slow dramatically. Hopefully having had Delta will confer immunity in whole or part to other variants, and the spread will be very slow.

Your post (as well as the others, btw) makes sense, however, roughly how long do you think that this would take (a few years? several years?)

I suspect that as soon as the vaccine is approved for kids (5 and over), and periodic boosters become the norm, this will all become background noise. So 1 to 2 years? Five years from now we’ll be talking about how much we miss having the excuse to spend quality time at home.

Historically, it doesn’t seem like pandemics last more than 2-4 years. So using that as a yardstick, we might have anywhere from half a year to a couple more years. I’m not a doctor or medical professional, but my guess is that it’s probably on the lower end of that, depending on how effective the vaccines and acquired Delta immunity are at preventing the spread of future variants. And how effective vaccinating children ends up, once their vaccines are approved.

Regarding the kids, vaccinations for them will probably be a step-change. Regardless, it’s also going to be interesting to see how things go with the unvaxxed in terms of deaths and immunities.

Plague is still around but the level has decreased and treatment options have increased. This will subside. However, if we were smart it would alert us to the necessity of planning for the next pathogen.