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When is the pandemic over?

This kind of struck me this weekend, when is the pandemic over? Personally, I am fully vaccinated and today had a Memorial Day cookout with a bunch of others who are also fully vaccinated, and it felt kind of weird, no masks and moved indoors after some late afternoon inclement weather. Most baseball, basketball and hockey stadiums are full again. My previously wfh job is going hybrid as early as June and September at the latest. So is this it, is the pandemic over now (at least here in the US)? I guess I’m a little startled at how quickly things went back to normal over the past few weeks.
 
450 Americans are still dying from it per day so I wouldn't exactly say it's over

imo, the real benchmark is when service workers stop wearing masks

but of course, "over in America" is not necessarily over; I don't know too much about the situation in India but from what limited info I have it doesn't seem "over"
 

Adamant Zoroark

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Only 5.5% of the global population is fully vaccinated (which is mainly concentrated in rich countries) and things are still really bad in several countries (especially India), so globally? It's absolutely not over. You could maybe make this argument for the US, but, for example, in Oklahoma the 7-day average for new cases is still higher than it was at this point last year, so I'd say it's still too soon to make that call.

The way I see it, we shouldn't view the pandemic as being over until health professionals feel confident in making that call. They know more about this kind of stuff than we do, so this is something we should take their word on.
 
I’m fully aware I’m looking at this from a US-centric point of view, and I also happen to live in a state with high vaccinations rates and lots of mask-wearing compliance, unlike Oklahoma.

Still, even if your country isn’t where the US is in containing COVID, the question of “the new normal” is starting to come into a clearer focus.
 

Oglemi

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My hometown pretended like it was over by last May, so they've already gone a year+ with little to no masks, etc. whereas in madison the mask mandate is only just getting lifted tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to see how many people start to ditch the mask and how many will keep wearing it.

Gotta love being in a swing state >.>
 

Myzozoa

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Different places at different times. There is no one measure that tells us when the pandemic is over and 'really' ending it in the sense that it is no longer overburdening healthcare systems almost certainly requires reaching targets for vaccination rates. And as long as there are equipment and supply shortages related to Covid-cases there is no real sense in saying its over. In addition, there could be a need for seasonal Covid vaccines in the future, in the same way there are seasonal influenza vaccines. The CDC guidelines that allow vaccinated people to stop wearing masks and physically distancing are pretty much garbage at this point, for scientific reasons, for barrier to access issues, and for what I already said which is that not everywhere is going to be safe to end Covid-19 safety protocols at the same time. For example the same week, May 13th, that the CDC guidelines came out I had to start wearing an N-95 on the unit I study at because of Covid-19 outbreaks. So anyway, I will probably wear a mask most of the time when in public for quite a while, can't really see being super confident to not wear a mask before spring of 2022, but I reckon a lot of people will stop wearing masks this summer and that we'll be fortunate to avoid a resurge this winter, which will depend on jabbing most people.
 
Recognition of a pandemic and formulation of responses are fundamentally matters of policy, so the answer would be when health authorities choose. However, the war against Covid-19 variants will not be over until the pathogen is eradicated in its entirety. Given the mutability of the virus, there also is the chance that a dominant variant emerges that is immune to the vaccine. I would go so far as to predict mask-wearing in public as a new cultural norm. People need to begin to realise that an age of globalisation entails an age of pandemics, and the water dropules we spew out are an externality that burdens our healthcare systems.
 
The pandemic is not at all over for large parts of the world, but in my area it feels like it is. Vaccination clinics are pretty widespread, and most everyone I know is either fully vaccinated or in the process of becoming fully vaccinated, which has led to people feeling safe going out more and going out without masks. For once, I'm glad to be living in the United States.
 
I mean the US completely blew its response to the pandemic and had a disproportionately high amount of deaths, which is part of the reason why vaccination is so important here: many other countries don't need to rush to vaccinate people as much because they actually effectively responded to the virus, they've been safely going out for a while now. meanwhile, a lot of the countries that are really hurting and need vaccines the most aren't getting them because American companies aren't sharing them

I wouldn't give America a pat on the back for this one just yet lol
 
I mean the US completely blew its response to the pandemic and had a disproportionately high amount of deaths, which is part of the reason why vaccination is so important here: many other countries don't need to rush to vaccinate people as much because they actually effectively responded to the virus, they've been safely going out for a while now. meanwhile, a lot of the countries that are really hurting and need vaccines the most aren't getting them because American companies aren't sharing them

I wouldn't give America a pat on the back for this one just yet lol
What do you expect us to do? Give away the vaccines we funded and purchased before we vaccinate our own population? We're already signing deals to give them away now that half the adult population is fully vaccinated anyways.
 
I mean the US completely blew its response to the pandemic and had a disproportionately high amount of deaths, which is part of the reason why vaccination is so important here: many other countries don't need to rush to vaccinate people as much because they actually effectively responded to the virus, they've been safely going out for a while now. meanwhile, a lot of the countries that are really hurting and need vaccines the most aren't getting them because American companies aren't sharing them

I wouldn't give America a pat on the back for this one just yet lol
Oh I'm not praising the US government at all, the way they mishandled the pandemic throughout 2020 cost hundreds of thousands of lives, I'm just saying that I'm glad to be living here and not in, say, India, now that the vaccine is being rolled out here.
 
Oh I'm not praising the US government at all, the way they mishandled the pandemic throughout 2020 cost hundreds of thousands of lives, I'm just saying that I'm glad to be living here and not in, say, India, now that the vaccine is being rolled out here.
I mean, to be fair, lives were going to be lost either way. I think its at least notable that a vaccine was pushed and developed, at least in the US, in about a year, even with a government divided against itself. While the US response was nowhere close to perfect, I think it was better than most people generally give us for.

Incase you disagree with me, which I imagine you will, would you mind elaborating on what was mishandled by the US? Not trying to bait or bite your head off or anything, just curious.
 
Incase you disagree with me, which I imagine you will, would you mind elaborating on what was mishandled by the US? Not trying to bait or bite your head off or anything, just curious.
Most of it comes from Trump, who encouraged his supporters to go against the CDC's recommendations and spread denialism. A lot of the deaths we had were completely preventable and we would have been able to easily handle this pandemic had everyone followed the guidelines from the start, but Trump convinced his followers that it wasn't real and so instead we're approaching a million deaths.

Speaking of The Donald, I would argue that his mishandling of the pandemic singlehandedly cost him the 2020 election. Biden isn't an inspiring candidate and was the second choice for many of his voters, so Trump probably would have been able to coast to a second term had he just told his supporters that masking up and social distancing was the American thing to do or something.
 
Most of it comes from Trump, who encouraged his supporters to go against the CDC's recommendations and spread denialism. A lot of the deaths we had were completely preventable and we would have been able to easily handle this pandemic had everyone followed the guidelines from the start, but Trump convinced his followers that it wasn't real and so instead we're approaching a million deaths.

Speaking of The Donald, I would argue that his mishandling of the pandemic singlehandedly cost him the 2020 election. Biden isn't an inspiring candidate and was the second choice for many of his voters, so Trump probably would have been able to coast to a second term had he just told his supporters that masking up and social distancing was the American thing to do or something.
I won't voice my opinion on Trump, but why was Biden the candidate? Like we had better options, didn't we? The guy is literally incompetent, is questionable in regards to certain remarks and actions, and is just a shady character as a whole.
 
I won't voice my opinion on Trump, but why was Biden the candidate? Like we had better options, didn't we? The guy is literally incompetent, is questionable in regards to certain remarks and actions, and is just a shady character as a whole.
We're getting a little off-topic, but Biden's base of hardcore supporters is quite low. His political experience and moderate beliefs got him enough support to get through the first stages of the race. After that, as other Dem candidates were knocked out of the race, their supporters began to move towards either Biden or Sanders. As it turns out, the moderate neoliberal wing of the Dems is bigger than the progressive wing, so more people ended up backing Biden than Sanders, so Biden got the nomination. After that, anyone who didn't like Trump basically had to go for Biden if they wanted a chance at getting Trump out of office.
 
I mean, to be fair, lives were going to be lost either way. I think its at least notable that a vaccine was pushed and developed, at least in the US, in about a year, even with a government divided against itself. While the US response was nowhere close to perfect, I think it was better than most people generally give us for.

Incase you disagree with me, which I imagine you will, would you mind elaborating on what was mishandled by the US? Not trying to bait or bite your head off or anything, just curious.
Lives didn't have to be lost on anywhere remotely close to the scale they were. I recommend watching Totally Under Control which compares the US response to South Koreas response. Some of the highlights include a simulated scenario conducted in 2019 which revealed structural flaws and lack of funding for a pandemic, throwing out a guidebook written by a pandemic response team which was then disbanded, the first batch of US test kits were faulty and labs trying to test didn't hear from the CDC for 3 weeks in the most crucial moment of the pandemic resulting in the US testing 100 people a week vs South Korea testing 10,000 allowing community spread to be invisible while messaging from the top downplayed concerns, and having unpaid untrained unqualified interns being the entire team attempting to buy PPE from factories while bidding against other states and both buying from Trump allies over proven manufacturers and being flown in from overseas being given to companies to sell to the highest bidder rather than the people that needed them.
 
I won't voice my opinion on Trump, but why was Biden the candidate? Like we had better options, didn't we? The guy is literally incompetent, is questionable in regards to certain remarks and actions, and is just a shady character as a whole.
If you think Biden's incompetent, it's pretty clear that your opinion of Trump is that he's one of the worst presidents in history. Idk why you felt the need to say that when we're comparing someone whose pandemic response killed over half a million Americans, vs the guy who has managed to stop having a 9/11 every three days
 
I mean, to be fair, lives were going to be lost either way. I think its at least notable that a vaccine was pushed and developed, at least in the US, in about a year, even with a government divided against itself. While the US response was nowhere close to perfect, I think it was better than most people generally give us for.

Incase you disagree with me, which I imagine you will, would you mind elaborating on what was mishandled by the US? Not trying to bait or bite your head off or anything, just curious.
I respect your last bit about not being bait, I get it given how online political conversations can often go. So let me clarify that if I sound pissed at all in this reply, it isn't at you but at the situation in general.

America absolutely had the wealth and resources to pay far more people to stay home than it did. The amount of monthly payments other countries of similar development gave to all of their citizens compared to the stimulus America sent was a joke. While unemployment benefits were not bad, the fact that so many people still had to go into work despite not being truly necessary didn't help our numbers at all, and thus those benefits were meaningless to them. Small business support was also obviously lacking as well.

And if course, this only applies to states that took the pandemic remotely seriously. Many conservative states did next to nothing when it came down to lockdown, mask mandates, etc. which inflated the numbers even further. It didn't help that leadership had such mixed messaging, with many elected officials denying basic scientific facts about the virus for political reasons.

I'm not an expert in diagnosing the exact causes of America's total bungling of the situation (wataboat's response has some good examples of specifics), as the country is not widely hegemonic; reasons vary state-by-state. However, the fact remains that America makes up 4.25 percent of the world population but had about 20 percent of all COVID deaths. By the standards of a supposedly great and powerful nation, that should be considered a clear and abject failure.

To be fair, that failure wasn't entirely due to our response, so much as our inability to respond in the first place. America has a terrible profit-based health care system, a threadbare social welfare system, an impotent federal government, wildly disparate state governments, and most of its wealth hoarded by the wealthy rather than distributed among the common good. Compared to other, more socialized countries of comparable development and economic power, America was totally ill-equipped to handle COVID or any other disaster of similar impact (this has been a chilling preview of how America will "handle" climate change).

The short answer is, America should have seized the wealth and resources possessed by its wealthiest members and used it to allow more people to stay home to limit the spread so as to avoid overloading our fragile health care system and prevent unnecessary deaths.

Was that a realistic thing to expect the country to do? Obviously not. America is ideologically too capitalist and instead attempted to downplay the virus to get more people back in public spaces to maintain the profit-based economy. But is it an option that could have been taken to prevent a great deal of American COVID deaths? Almost certainly. But, as we always do, we choose to cater to the greed of the few rather than the welfare of the many, as is the American way.

I won't voice my opinion on Trump, but why was Biden the candidate? Like we had better options, didn't we? The guy is literally incompetent, is questionable in regards to certain remarks and actions, and is just a shady character as a whole.
A few thoughts on this as well. First off, had COVID never happened, we'd absolutely be in Trump's second term right now, or maybe Bernie's first.

Biden was the candidate because he was the Democratic Party establishment's clear favorite to beat Bernie AND Trump. Without getting too tinfoil-hatted, there were some clear signs of the Democratic Party coalescing around Biden after his South Carolina primary win, with a surprising number of candidates uncharacteristically dropping out before Super Tuesday, apparently due to phone calls from Obama.

With the centrists of the party no longer split and a lack of media coverage on Bernie's early victories, including/in spite of ridiculously shady action from the Buttigieg campaign in Ohio, Biden was basically manufactured to be the preferred candidate despite virtually no enthusiasm from any base. Biden barely ended up winning, so Dems can pat themselves on the back and tell themselves they made the right call, but I believe his win was purely from a vote against Trump, with specific urgency due to his pathetic COVID response. Despite early polling success due to name recognition, Biden had no discernable base of actual voters. Pretty much every centrist voter preferred someone else, and Bernie obviously had a significant degree of enthusiasm behind him.

EDIT: also, this tweet summarized my thoughts on what America should have done with the vaccine very succinctly

 
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PDC

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the united states simply does not have the structural tools or ideology to cohesively handle a pandemic, or anything that requires a team effort and potential sacrifice of individual liberties/mobility. this has more to do with institutional failings in education and economy than individual faults. either way, the pandemic was always going to be worse in the united states than other nations of comparable wealth/industry because of its extremism. however, as much as i detest biden/obama, i do believe that from a mere capability standpoint they would have done better than trump did, even if only marginally. this derives more from their own ethos or preserving neoliberal america, while trump attempts to tear it down to some degree.

certainly some states did worse than others, however the response from america's leadership was pretty horrible across the board. look at cuomo -- in the beginning of the pandemic he was being hailed as a hero, and now with the cobwebs removed, it has been shown that even the most 'liberal' states do not possess the tools to deal with the pandemic. "we did all we could" doesn't mean much when thousands of people are dying daily, and means even less when there was much more that could have been done from the beginning. of course, america (and every capitalist nation, really) is unable to remove its ideological glasses, and truly revolutionize how it dealt with the pandemic, as ASMR said. a lot of people died from this, and many will have their lives ruined for the foreseeable future.

i am aware that you are a conservative Sickist. i'm not sure what kind, but i will say that the standard conservative responses to the pandemic were even worse than the lukewarm liberal ones. opening businesses, pivoting from "covid-19 being the greatest tragedy" into "covid-19 is a farce designed to crush you," questioning its existence, and utilizing covid-19 as a supporting piece of evidence for future military engagement with china were all incredibly popular perspectives on fox news, and while i do not know if you share any of these talking points, they were objective positions within your party.

here's a thought: whether or not the lockdowns ceased or continued was of no consequence to your political leaders. no matter what happens, they win. this is not a repeat of the "the rich win no matter what happens" argument (although that too is true), but of another perspective that politically this was a victory for a plethora of conservative forces. thousands of smaller businesses died over the course of the pandemic, with some business owners reaching regional/national fame for their efforts to defy the "tyranny" or liberal government and lockdowns. on one hand, these businesses shutting down is favorable for their campaigns and economic beliefs: small people don't donate and lobby for legislation in the same way larger corporations can, and the absorption of their market share creates a mutual benefit.

why did the governor of georgia approve the ending of lockdowns so early? because it meant that certain loans could no longer be granted to businesses because they were allowed to operate at "full capacity," knowing full well that it is not sustainable or possible to have such commerce during the pandemic's height. the result is they are cut off from government support, absorbed by a larger corporation, and their campaign is strengthened. smaller businesses do not have the capital or savings to recover from such an economic collapse, or at least many do not.

meanwhile, these politicians can say: "we have given you freedom to do as you wish," even though their businesses are collapsing. for states that don't allow the cease of lockdown orders, they can say the same thing, only this time the slogan shifts to "we cannot open up your businesses, and you are going bankrupt because of these democrats," despite both meeting a similar fate. they win either way -- businesses open up and the leadership gets congratulated for sticking it to the liberals, or they remain closed and they get congratulated for "fighting for the little guy," despite not offering even a smidge of what they possibly could to these business owners. instead, they prop up a couple businesses on television who "just want to get back to work" in order to trick the other millions of owners into believing that subjecting themselves, and their workers to the pandemic is a just expression of freedom. what type of freedom is that?

i think the main point i am trying to get across here is that even within our own ideological framework, we were insufficient in approaching the pandemic. perhaps because for those now vying for power, it doesn't really matter. for those like trump and his cohorts who wish for some magical return to 1776 or the 1950s, i think it might be appropriate for you to ask yourself: why is it impossible for time to move backwards?
 
I won't voice my opinion on Trump, but why was Biden the candidate? Like we had better options, didn't we? The guy is literally incompetent, is questionable in regards to certain remarks and actions, and is just a shady character as a whole.
I believe it was either Bernie or Biden, and the reason Biden was chosen over Bernie was because Bernie definitely would have pressed for tax reform of the rich, which is something that rich Democrats would not want obviously.
 
Here in Spain the pandemic has not ended, but it's well on its way to ending. The best advantage we have over countries like the United States or France is that vaccine rejection rates are negligible, so we are likely to be able to reach 75-80% of the population fully vaccinated over time. In opposition to most countries, we had a nationwide mask mandate both outdoors and indoors. The former will be lifted this Saturday.

50% of Spaniards have received the first dose of the vaccine and around 33% are fully vaccinated, but nearly everyone (over 97%!) over 60 is, so death cases have gone down. Infections are slowly decreasing and vaccination of the youngest age groups will take place between July and September, so I suppose we will have finished the pandemic by the national day, October 12th.
 
Where I live, we are ending all COVID rules in a week, as we have over 70% with the first vax. I'm not sure how well this will work but I'm tired to watching all the antimaskers.
 
why did the governor of georgia approve the ending of lockdowns so early? because it meant that certain loans could no longer be granted to businesses because they were allowed to operate at "full capacity," knowing full well that it is not sustainable or possible to have such commerce during the pandemic's height. the result is they are cut off from government support, absorbed by a larger corporation, and their campaign is strengthened. smaller businesses do not have the capital or savings to recover from such an economic collapse, or at least many do not.

meanwhile, these politicians can say: "we have given you freedom to do as you wish," even though their businesses are collapsing. for states that don't allow the cease of lockdown orders, they can say the same thing, only this time the slogan shifts to "we cannot open up your businesses, and you are going bankrupt because of these democrats," despite both meeting a similar fate. they win either way -- businesses open up and the leadership gets congratulated for sticking it to the liberals, or they remain closed and they get congratulated for "fighting for the little guy," despite not offering even a smidge of what they possibly could to these business owners. instead, they prop up a couple businesses on television who "just want to get back to work" in order to trick the other millions of owners into believing that subjecting themselves, and their workers to the pandemic is a just expression of freedom. what type of freedom is that?
The short answer is that one of the mainstream political factions in the United States is embracing authoritarianism (and more specifically, fascism), which by necessity requires government to torment civilians and leave them in a constant perception of helplessness. Policy and social programs surrounding Covid-19 are antithetical to this goal, so to the fascist it is necessary to both remove existing regulations AND target dissidents, as Ron DeSantis and Brian Kemp are currently doing. Officials and educators enforcing mask mandates, or daring to teach American history beyond the Tiananmen-esque program approved by apparatchiks of the Communist Party of China GOP think tank will face professional repercussions. Any institution that does not comply with the party programme will be defunded. In the People's Republic of China, this was already a reality for educators concerning atrocities like the 1989 massacres in Tiananmen Square, now it's being replicated in the GOP's own censorious war on history.

This is what happens when a mainstream faction is disloyal to the constitutional order, and that faction attains power.
 

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