As masks and other safeguards go off, wariness about virus remains

bidensotu-300x206The battle against the coronavirus pandemic has shifted anew with lingering wariness about the fast-ebbing Omicron surge, persistent concern about the still-high disease deaths, sustained worries about potential new viral variants, and mixed emotions and reactions by regular folks to the rapid easing of public health measures.

The pandemic, experts caution, is not over, especially with the coronavirus killing 1,800 Americans on average each day and the disease’s total U.S. fatality toll exceeding 1 million.

But deaths slowly are declining, while infections and hospitalizations plunge, as the New York Times reported with this summary:

“Virus activity continues to wane across the United States, with new case reports reaching their lowest levels since last summer. Coronavirus hospitalizations have fallen more than two-thirds from their January peak, to about 45,000 from more than 150,000. The number of patients in intensive care units has also plummeted. Around 1,800 deaths continue to be announced most days, well below the peak of the Omicron wave but still very high … Fewer people are hospitalized with Covid-19, and fewer new cases are being announced each day, than in the weeks before the highly infectious Omicron variant became dominant in the United States. Every state is in far better shape than it was at the height of Omicron, and almost every state continues to see significant declines in daily case reports and hospitalizations.”

President Biden, in his State of the Union address (with POTUS unmasked, as were most in attendance, see above), said the nations must shift its pandemic responses, focusing on priorities such as these, described by the New York Times:

  • protecting against and treating Covid-19
  • preparing for new variants
  • avoiding shutdowns, especially of schools
  • and fighting the virus abroad.

Federal officials will keep pushing the public to get vaccinated and boosted, as vaccines have shown remarkable results in preventing serious coronavirus cases requiring hospitalization and deaths, administration officials have said. The United States will push to ensure that vaccines can be developed rapidly in response to viral mutations and new variants, sharing shots and treatments around the world to quell the pandemic globally. Experts will press to find safe and effective ways, too, to vaccinate children younger than 5, and to ensure that their older siblings get now available and extremely useful shots against the coronavirus and other infections.

The administration is pressing, too, to increase the complex, challenging manufacture of antiviral drugs shown to be safe, effective, and relatively convenient. Officials hope soon to see a “test and treat” approach, in which clinics, say, at pharmacies nationwide, could screen patients who think they may have been exposed or contracted the coronavirus and then provide them quickly with drugs that can knock down the illness early and prevent it from progressing to more serious stages.

But Congress must provide increased funding for these and other initiatives, including efforts to improve data collection, monitoring, and analyses. Alas, the steep politicization of the pandemic persists, too, so it is uncertain of lawmakers will support the administration request for billions of dollars more to battle the coronavirus.

In the meantime, at a consumer level, regular folks appear to be having varied reactions to health officials easing pandemic measures like face covering, distancing, and proof of vaccination. Communities across the country, relying on recent shifts in guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control, have decided that many health measures, notably face masking, can end for many.

But those with heightened vulnerability to the virus — those who are older, immunocompromised, overweight, and with underlying conditions, or individuals from hard-hit communities of color — still may be staying careful, including by keeping on their masks.

The (responsible) unvaccinated in many areas that ease pandemic measures will be required to cover their faces and more as they cannot show proof that they have gotten their coronavirus shots and boosters.

The vaccines remain life changers and life savers. If you have not gotten yours, please do so, boosters and all, pronto. If you have been exposed or think you have gotten infected, please get tested — and quarantine or isolate to protect yourself and others.

Hospitals are only starting to work out of the tragic chasm of patients struggling for their health and lives with the “mild” and highly contagious Omicron variant, as well as cases of the lingering Delta infection. Doctors, hospitals, and clinics continue to puzzle and wrestle with the care for patients with sustained debilitation due to “long Covid.”

We may be done with the pandemic, but it isn’t done with us. We have work to do still to deal with a deadly infection and its stunning array of harms.

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
Washingtonian Top Lawyer 2011
Avvo Rating 10.0 Superb Top Attorney Best Lawyers Firm
Contact Information