Returning to a Pre-COVID Normal

There is no doubt that the pandemic has shifted our everyday lives but the hope for returning back to a pre-pandemic normal is greater than what it was a year ago. With almost a million vaccines being administered a day, experts state that we may be able to return to normal sometime at the end of this year, according to ABC News. The CDC has even told people who are fully vaccinated they do not have to wear their mask if they are outdoors. 

This fall semester, most school districts and universities are returning to in-person classes 100 percent and are no longer doing online classes. Some universities, like Harvard, are even requiring students to be fully vaccinated if they are going to be taking classes in person.

Per the New York Times, the average number for positive COVID-19 cases in a week are at 45,000, drastically down from January 2021 when there were about 200,000 cases per week. The U.S. is 34 percent fully vaccinated and 46 percent with at least one dose. In order for the U.S. to reach herd immunity, at least 70 percent of Americans need to be fully vaccinated. 

With variants of COVID-19 spreading around the world, it will be more difficult to reach herd immunity. However, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has been proven to be effective against the different variants spreading, while the Moderna vaccine is still in the early trials of testing the different variants per CBS News. 

Additionally, the FDA just approved children ages 12-15 eligible for the Pfizer vaccine if parents choose for them to be vaccinated, per the New York Times. A couple of months ago, children 16-17 were approved for the Pfizer vaccine as well. Trials for children 2-11 are still in their early phases of testing and they will not know the results until the end of the year.

While some states have already loosened restrictions because of a decline of infections, other countries and their failure of administering vaccines and controlling the virus may make herd immunity difficult to reach globally. India is still currently in a deadly surge of COVID-19 cases with 400,000 new cases and nearly 3,000 deaths per week. 

While this sounds like bad news, the effectiveness of the vaccines against variants give doctors hope that we could return to normal soon.