Why Is Everyone Getting COVID-19 Again?
Just when we thought we were phasing out the COVID-19 conversation, another influx of infections has put a damper on our spring and summer plans. The hope that we’d reach herd immunity has dwindled, as vaccination numbers are too low and too slow, not to mention that this virus keeps evolving very quickly.
Experts have all but thrown in the towel on the US reaching herd immunity and now predict that the COVID-19 virus that caused the worldwide pandemic will become endemic instead (NYTimes). We addressed this “constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area” (CDC) in a blog a few months ago (you can read it here). Basically, this means that everyone will get the virus at some point, and while it will be far less deadly at that stage, there will still be annual hospitalizations and deaths. And, alas, we are not there yet.
The climbing number of cases across the country of all age groups should be taken seriously because even if the virus’s symptoms aren’t as harsh or lasting as long, it’s still not entirely mild. On top of feeling pretty sick for the duration of the illness, “long COVID” should still be a concern. These are long-lasting symptoms that can persist for weeks, months, or even years. Yep, years. Imagine not being able to function at full capacity for that long. Picture going to work and spending twice as long on a task that used to take you a half-hour. According to the CDC, feeling tired and experiencing brain fog are just two symptoms; some people have conditions including a fever, cough, sleep problems, change in smell or taste, stomach pain, rashes, and more.
For personal reasons, some individuals will not change their lifestyles to reduce their chances of infection. For others – with or without compromised immune systems – a rise in cases triggers the instinct to protect oneself right away.
For the latter group, we put together a quick refresher on how to keep yourself and your family safe from COVID-19.
Get vaccinated and boosted:
- Fact: Antibodies generated from the COVID-19 vaccine offer more protection than antibodies generated from contracting the virus. The vaccine activates your immune system to produce a larger number and different types of antibodies that will leave your bloodstream at an anticipated rate over time (Nature & Hopkins). Naturally induced antibodies appear at different levels and don’t vary widely in type to fight a constantly mutating virus.
- Still, even vaccine-induced antibodies don’t last forever in the bloodstream, so make sure to get a booster. Be aware that you don’t need to have the same booster brand as the vaccine brand you got (so if you originally got the two Moderna shots, you can effectively get the Pfizer booster).
- Kids aged 5 to 11 years old are now eligible for a booster too!
Wear a mask:
- While mandates may not be around anymore, it’s still smart to wear your mask anytime you are indoors in public, especially on public transit of any kind or rideshares.
- Bust out those free at-home tests from the government; each household is now eligible to order eight more or visit a testing center if you’ve been exposed to an infected person or start to feel ill.
For immunocompromised individuals, we know that every wave of COVID-19 has felt scarier than the one before. Rest assured that hospitals and treatment centers won't shut down, unlike at the beginning of the pandemic. That said, we highly recommend taking extra precautions for obvious reasons and also because getting COVID-19 now could delay your personal protocol.
As many have already experienced, you might get COVID-19 even if you take the proper precautions. One of the most common reactions to testing positive is guilt, which serves us in no way whatsoever. Permit yourself to focus on getting well and keeping those around you safe. Click here for our guide on what to do if you test positive. There are also a number of new treatments out there to help you get back to good health. Important: Ensure that whoever is administrating the COVID-19 treatment knows what medications you’re on, as the virus-fighting drugs have serious interactions with some meds.
Questions? Concerns? Confusion? Contact us with your inquiries, as we’d be happy to help you and your family stay safe.