Is the hot vax summer we were promised finally approaching?
The moment each of us has been waiting for since March of 2020 has finally arrived. Public health papi and global ambassador of the Brooklyn accent Dr. Anthony Fauci told PBS Newshour on Tuesday that the U.S. is out of the pandemic phase.
Now before we all rip off our masks and recklessly cough on each other, let’s talk about what he means. Dr. Fauci is referring to this particular moment in time in the U.S. and clarified that much of the world is still going through acute phases of the pandemic. Then, of course, there’s always the threat of a potentially deadly new variant that we can’t even fathom now.
All of that considered, Fauci noted that the U.S. is having pretty low hospitalization and death rates, mostly because a lot of us are vaccinated and partially because so many of us have been infected with at least one strain of COVID at this point. By some estimates, a staggering 60% of American adults and 75% of children have antibodies that indicate previous infection, per CNN. For those who do get infected, there’s now some pretty remarkable antiviral medications that can stop COVID from getting worse.
Last year, Dr. Fauci had predicted that we would be out of the pandemic by Fall of 2021, which was completely thwarted by Delta and later Omicron. But even as new strains of Omicron, BA.1 and BA.2, spread and infect Americans, it’s just not ravaging us the same way that past waves have. Dr. Fauci reiterated that we are never going to completely eradicate COVID-19; we’re probably not going to live to see a day when there are zero COVID cases left in the world. Instead, we are transitioning into an era where COVID will stop dictating so much of our lives, as long as we consistently keep getting vaccinated.
Now, we knew this time would come but none of us knew exactly when — it could have been tomorrow or it could have been in five years. Thankfully, it seems like we are now officially exiting this pandemic and entering something that looks closer to the endemic stage, which is when a virus or disease is predictable, manageable and limited to a small segment of the population.
As always, we have to approach this good news with caution, but I’m personally ecstatic at the thought of being able to travel more and to make plans without the fear that the entire world might shut down at any moment. The prospects of a Booty Thumping Boi summer are looking pretty good.