In the Woods

Each and every day a human is alive, he/she experiences history; however, right now, humans are experiencing history that will appear in textbooks. This is the history that scares future leaders and citizens; furthermore, this is not the first pandemic in history, and it will not be the last. It has been over a month of terror in America, and the story continues; the virus rages, humans stay home, and life is still “shut down.” But people are getting restless; people want answers. The textbook pages are unwritten, but the recent past and near future will fill them up.

As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, Americans are left with many of unanswered questions. Each one leads back to the same overall theme: When will this be over? And, when it is over, what will life look like? The truth is, there is no definite answer to those questions. Life will not be “normal” for a while, that is for sure. However, the people of America cannot stay locked up in their homes, on their couches and eating ice cream, forever. There are many factors that will go into getting the country up on its feet. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, explained that the death toll has been relatively flat since the middle of April, CNN reports. CNN also shared the plea of health officials, who ask that citizens continue to social distance. Aggressive social distancing will help stabilize the nation.

Testing is still sparse, and hospitals remain crowded. Additionally, a vaccine is futuristic right now. As of now, antibody tests, which would be able to detect if a person has had/been infected with coronavirus, are available; however, their accuracy is not reliable. A treatment would be instrumental in helping the world stabilize, and many tests for different treatments are currently under way. One drug being tested is hydroxychloroquine, a drug that can cure many diseases such as malaria. However, CNN reports that doctors who have issued this treatment in Brazil and Sweden have seen their patients develop heart complications. Therefore, it will not be widely used to treat coronavirus patients. Several trials are being conducted in America on another potential treatment, remdesivir, CNN reports. One more possible treatment being discussed is using convalescent plasma, which is when the blood of someone who has survived and beat coronavirus is injected into a person who is currently battling the virus. No matter what, the bottom line is that a vaccine will be the ultimate savior. It is the only thing that will truly allow the country, and the world, to defeat the deadly virus. CNN reports that many different organizations have been trying to develop a successful vaccine. Moderna, a US Biotech firm; Johnson & Johnson; CanSino Biological Inc.; and the Beijing Institute of Biotechnology, are only a few of the many companies that are working night and day to find a vaccine. Scientists and doctors are working harder than ever, and at this point, patience and obedience will be the only reliable medicine for the world.

A test, cure, or vaccine for coronavirus has not been discovered yet; therefore, Americans must continue to socially distance. The dire state of the United States is due to many people not taking social distancing measures seriously. Sophomore Colin Lung expressed that “Many people [in America] are taking this pandemic as a joke. Some people are not following the correct procedures, and people also may not know how serious this pandemic is.” Social distancing and preventive protocols have been key in containing coronavirus. It is proven that the countries that took the most proactive actions are the ones being hit the lightest, and the ones that will be able to resume to some sort of normality, the soonest. The density of America has led to exponential growth of the virus. Sophomore Julia Reis added to why she believes America is in a worse position compared to other nations: “[America is in this position] because it has so many close-knit communities where people use the same transportation systems and work together in tightly packed buildings.” Dr. Peter Drobac, a global health expert from Oxford University, shares that certain nations are in a much better place because of “proactive action,” CNN reports.

CNN also looked at a few of these nations; one of these nations is Denmark, the first European nation to shut its borders. In that same week, it also closed all non-essential businesses and schools. Denmark’s prime minister shared that “The only way we [Denmark] have avoided the tragic scenarios in places like Italy and the US is because we [Denmark] acted quickly.” Denmark hopes to have kids return to school in the near future, if the amount of cases do not spike. The Czech Republic was another nation that closed its shops and businesses almost instantly. Within the country, all people are required to wear masks or scarves (covering the mouth and nose) when outside. Because of those measures, some smaller shops were able to reopen recently, and essential travel outside the nation began on April 14. Furthermore, Austria has mandated that all people must wear masks when going into supermarkets and on public transport. This has led to 295 deaths in the nation, and although Austria is much smaller than the United States, it still has less deaths than America if compared in a population to death ratio. Smaller shops have been opened, and the country is hoping to open all shops, shopping centers, and hairdressers on May 1. Norway has lost 92 people to coronavirus and has fewer cases than many nations because it shut its borders quickly. The fewer amount of cases has led to better hospital care for those with the virus. The top priority for the Norwegian government is to open schools. These are only a few examples of nations that are hoping to return to normalcy soon. Either way, life all over the world is far from what used to be normal. In America’s case, the curve needs to continue to flatten, and there need to be locations and availability for mass testing. With that being said, a “new normal” is on the horizon.

There is no telling if or when the virus will quell and/or disappear. Scientists all over the world have been working around the clock to develop tests, cures, and a vaccine for the deadly virus. Many countries were proactive and saved many lives. Other nations, like America, were not as lucky, and are still suffering tremendously. Life has changed and will continue to change due to coronavirus. American citizens can only do one thing right now: listen to social distancing laws. Even then, one thing is for certain: America is still not out of the woods.