The COVID-19 pandemic has been a part of our lives since 2020. And unfortunately, due to many people not taking the proper precautions, several variants of the virus have found their way here. So whether we like it or not, we may be living with this disease well into the future. Health expert, Dr. Melissa Clarke, dropped some reasons to The Root about Covid and why it’s still around.
Ya’ll Ain’t Masking
COVID-19 spreads when someone who is infected breathes droplets that contain the virus into the air. It’s also important to note that a person can spread the virus even if they aren’t showing symptoms. That’s why wearing a well-fitting mask in crowded and indoor spaces is one of the best ways to prevent transmission from person to person, according to the CDC. But battles over mask mandates, led by people who feel their rights are being violated, have erupted all over the country. Some have even turned violent.
Vaccine Hesitancy is Real
The FDA released the first emergency use authorization for a COVID-19 vaccine back in December of 2020. Over time, the government rolled out the vaccines to essential workers. And by March 2021, they were available to all Americans. Back then, there was a chance to slow the creation of variants by getting vaccinated. But there was some hesitancy, even in the Black community, to roll up their sleeves and get the shot. And if you know anything about the Tuskegee Experiment, you can understand why.
But unfortunately, those who chose not to get vaccinated served as a reservoir that the virus could easily pass through and, in the process, new variants were formed. Anytime a virus gets into your system, its job is to make more copies of itself that get spread to other people. In that manufacturing process, changes or variations happen from the original virus. These are the variants.
The Variants are Coming Out With a Vengeance
Variants can have an advantage over the parent virus, which allows them to infect people more easily or become more deadly. We’ve seen the latest COVID variants, like the multiple Omicron variants, be more infectious. The BA.5 variant is even more infectious than the original coronavirus.
New variants have made it more difficult for antibodies that were formed from the original vaccine to work as effectively as they could. Most of the vaccine manufacturers, including Pfizer, Moderna, Novovax, and AstraZeneca, are working on Omicron-specific vaccines to better boost immunity by creating antibodies against that variant. Over time, the Omicron vaccine will eventually become like the flu vaccine, updated to help your body create antibodies to the latest variant. Even though the world is beginning to open up again and Zoom weddings are becoming a thing of the past, it looks like COVID will be a part of our lives for the foreseeable future.