The Pandemic is Over
Science and Society differ on the metrics they use to arrive at a verdict. Regardless, by several benchmarks, the pandemic is indeed over. Here’s why.
Something I read recently resonated deeply—about the subject on everyone’s mind: When will this pandemic finally be over?!
That article, in the The Atlantic, offered the following viewpoint:
“Scientists have their own way of deciding that a pandemic is over. But one useful social-scientific marker is when people have gotten used to living with the ongoing presence of a particular pathogen. By that definition, the massive surge of Omicron infections that is currently coursing through scores of developed countries without eliciting more than a half-hearted response marks the end of the pandemic.”
“A pandemic is over when people have gotten used to living with the ongoing presence of a particular a pathogen.”
It resonated precisely because I have seen signs of normalization everywhere—at least in the West. After a two-year onslaught that included lockdowns, nasal swabs, headlines, imperfect science, shape-shifting regulations, see-sawing emotions, daily infection, hospitalization, work interruptions, job loss, job change, burnout, defiance and the ticker tape of infection, hospitalization and death toll counts—not to mention bristling anger toward those who disagree with our own feelings and/or decisions related to all of it—we are seeing more and more signs that people have had enough of all of it, and are willing to take the risks they may not have been, just months ago.
The Beginning of the End
Amid a record infection surge in Australia—a country that has endured punishing lockdowns throughout the pandemic—Prime Minister Scott Morrison told New Year’s Eve revelers just a few days ago to “enjoy the evening”.
“Australia must move past “the heavy hand of government” and authorities must stop shutting down people’s lives with COVID-19 lockdowns.”