Six months ago, I wrote a COVID-19 Update subtitled “Realistic Expectations for the Future of COVID-19,” in which I presented three important concepts.
Number 1: The pandemic would be a marathon rather than a sprint, a fact that many repudiated so many months ago, but that I suspect we’ve all now reconciled with.
Number 2: As individuals, we each have a role to play and a job to do. SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, transmits as a consequence of human behavior and, in this crisis situation, we all have a responsibility to maintain vigilance in practicing the simple but critical mitigation measures we’ve honed throughout the course of this challenging year. We know what works: wearing a mask, socially distancing, keeping our hands clean, and staying home when indicated. Individual actions coalesce to create tremendous impact, and we must actively avoid the temptation of complacency.
Number 3: We are all in this together. Nearly every single person on this planet has been impacted by this pandemic, the breadth and magnitude of which has not been experienced for generations. As human beings and global citizens, we may be physically apart from individuals with whom we wish we were near, but we are not alone in our experience of this stressful, painful, tumultuous COVID era.
It’s time to add a desperately needed, fourth assertion to the list.
Number 4: Hope is on the horizon. For the last several weeks, the entire world has been galvanized by exciting new breakthroughs in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine. Three vaccine candidates have announced promising preliminary results from stage 3 efficacy trials. There is now real hope, founded on rigorous scientific research, that at least one safe and efficacious vaccine (in combination with therapeutics and other tried and tested public health measures) will ultimately bring an end to this pandemic. Of course, it is important to temper enthusiasm with the reality that we must await finalized stage 3 trial results, FDA review and approval, and the logistical hurdles of mass production and distribution. Nonetheless, encouraging early results from three separate vaccine candidates (with 10 other vaccines also engaged in stage 3 efficacy trials and dozens more in earlier stages of evaluation) is amazing news worthy of inciting hope among us. I can’t say when exactly, but I promise that this pandemic will end.
Taryn Tindall, RN, on behalf of the Deerfield Leadership Team