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The Antelope

COVID-19 now and into the future: what to expect

Photo by Ryan Johnson CDC guidelines recommends everyone wear masks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19.

As winter approaches, COVID-19 numbers are spiking all around the country. Reports from several scientists claim we could be in the pandemic for much longer.

As we leave the fall season, we make way for cold weather, hot chocolate and skyrocketing positivity rates. Doctors across the country have already been working on a vaccine for months, yet it is unclear when we may see one released to the public. Until then, scientists speculate we could see a new, more potent strand of COVID-19 that may be harder to get rid of.

Megan Scudellari, a science journalist for, gives some insight on COVID-19 in the coming season.

“COVID-19 is here to stay, and the future depends on a lot of unknowns, including whether people develop lasting immunity to the virus, whether seasonality affects its spread, and — perhaps most importantly — the choices made by governments and individuals,” Scudellari wrote.

The holiday season is also quickly approaching. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and most questionably, Black Friday will all continue as usual. Those who have participated in past Black Fridays know that massive crowds are part and parcel with the deals. 

Thankfully, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have guidelines for stores on Black Friday. But worryingly, it remains to be seen how many companies will actually comply with the CDC.

The official CDC website has a list of contingency plans for any situation. For what they deem a “high-risk” scenario like Black Friday, the CDC advises wearing masks, avoiding people, and, if the risk is too high, abstaining from the event altogether. Many stores are also helping reduce the crowds by offering more deals online or even spreading Black Friday festivities across the entire week. 

But back to the bigger picture: how long will we have to keep living alongside this disease?

While we wait for a vaccine, scientists are already speculating far into 2021 on what life will be like with COVID-19. Many believe that the pandemic we are living in currently will escalate into endemic levels— a virus that will stay with us forever. 

Although right now it is hard to say whether herd immunity works with the constant adaptation and mutations COVID-19 is undergoing, there is a good chance life under our current health guidelines will be the new normal until a vaccine is finally released.

Medical News Today, an online medical newspaper, interviewed Professor Paul Kellam, an infectious disease specialist.

“I think what we’re looking at now with SARS-CoV-2 is that process of becoming a new seasonal human pathogen. And so, in that sense, humans will be with this virus forever,” Kellam said in the article.

Reports across the world may be conflicting on what COVID-19 is, how long it will last, or how to prevent it, but it would seem that erring on the side of caution is still the best course of action. Avoid Black Friday, wear your mask and wash your hands regularly and hopefully this pandemic will not have to become endemic.

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