People keep asking me when I think the pandemic will be over... I really don't know to be honest. I don't think anyone really knows. But I will say that I don't think that it will be over until most of us are vaccinated. And although the vaccination rollouts have begun, I think that it will be at least another year before most of the the U.S and the rest of the world are vaccinated. Despite this new administration's commitment to science and accurate data, there are still 3 pretty big things blocking progress toward the end of this pandemic.
The 3 Big Things (of course there are other factors but this is my list)
1. The mistrust of vaccinations and the overall healthcare system among and within communities of color
3. Human nature and our general inability to stay tf home
Mistrust in the U.S healthcare system
Without even mentioning the obvious Tuskegee experiment example (make sure to Google it if you're never heard of it), people of color don't easily trust the medical field. And although this deeply-rooted mistrust is just one factor that could makes it difficult to end a pandemic like this one, I have a hard time telling people to just
get over it and go take the vaccine because I genuinely understand that its not that simple. Even as a public health professional (and with family in the pharmaceutical field), I've had to overcome some level of fear and skepticism in order to convince myself to take the vaccine. I could never act like it would be that simple (emotionally), especially when black women are still dying from childbirth at a ridiculously higher rate than white women, or when doctors have openly admitted that they believe black patients feel pain less than
white patients. The mistrust is low key warranted... So while I can't just tell people to get over it, I know its going to take work from me and others in the healthcare field to try to rebuild that mistrust so everyone benefits. And I've already had trouble convincing many. So far I've been met with a lot more skepticism than I was expecting.
So then, even if we're successful at getting people to trust the healthcare system enough to agree to get the vaccine, access and compliance are going to be another hurdle to overcome. Although the vaccine is free, many Americans will struggle to get an appointment that they can actually attend because of our overburdened healthcare system and the hours that clinics are actual open.
Let me break that down... With the limited supply of the actual vaccine and the limited supply of healthcare professionals available to administer the vaccine between caring for covid patients and maintaining their own mental health, many vaccination sites are booked out for the next few weeks. And lets not forget that the vaccine comes in 2 doses...
Human nature and our general inability to stay tf home
IN THE MEANTIME, to gain some control of the virus all we really need to do is stay home. But that has proved to be much more difficult for people than we might have thought it would be before this all started. And that's not to say that I'm perfect. I've had trouble staying in for an entire year. Extended periods of isolation can literally change the way that the brain works, and you've probably seen articles and shows talking about how there has been a pretty big increase in depression and anxiety related to staying home. Even the CDC has updated their information on coping with isolation and loneliness during the pandemic.
All that being said, I am hopeful that we will be done with the pandemic by next year! I just don't know what another year of this will do to us!