The day has finally come. You’ve received the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine currently on the Western market — Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech or Oxford-AstraZeneca.Does that mean you’re free to go about life as you did before the pandemic once immunity kicks in?
Sorry, there is no immunity passport yet, experts told CNN. There are still safety precautions you need to follow in order to keep you, your loved ones and everyone else safe and protected from the deadly coronavirus.Read on for answers from the experts on top questions such as when can you stop wearing a mask, eat inside a restaurant, travel, go to sporting events and concerts, and freely visit friends and family.
Life globally will not return to normal for two or three years based on the rate of the current vaccination rollout, it has been warned – but there are early signs jabs are reducing cases in the UK.
Speaking to Sky News, Dr Clare Wenham, assistant professor of global health policy at London School of Economics, said the COVID-19 pandemic will not be over until the world’s population is protected.
“At the moment, the data is showing it’s going to be 2023/24 before the global vaccines are distributed to everybody,” she said.
“That’s a long time. And distributing some now might be able to get us back to normal life sooner.”
We’re told that life is never getting back to normal, so we need to suck it up and accept a world of mask-wearing, economic disruption, and social distancing. It’s a denatured echo of the warnings we’ve heard before that government responses to COVID-19 are pushing the world toward authoritarianism—but dressed up as if that’s a good thing.
That’s unfortunate, given that less-intrusive responses to the pandemic are proving at least as effective as heavy-handed ones. And that’s before we even discuss the inherent value of the freedom that looks destined to be pushed aside by public health concerns and by disingenuous government officials.
“As 2020 slides into and probably infects 2021, try to take heart in one discomfiting fact: Things are most likely never going ‘back to normal,'” wrote CNN International Security Editor Nick Paton Walsh last week. In his piece he discusses the likely permanency of mask mandates, telecommuting, reduced physical contact, and similar changes to life.
Some of the alterations Walsh mentions may be matters of personal choice, but a good many of them are imposed by “politicians who pretend that ‘normal’ is just around the corner,” as Babson College’s Thomas Davenport says in the article.
We’re supposed to accept our newly constrained lives as “the new normal”—in a phrasing that’s already very tired, indeed.
Actually, repeated references to a “new normal” aren’t just tired; they’re ominous.
Both the 9/11 attacks and the Covid-19 pandemic have dramatically shaped Western society. But the changes they wrought were devastating and unnecessary, pushed through by control-hungry governments who saw opportunity in crisis.
While both the worst terror attack in US history and the deadliest pandemic in a generation were immediately hyped as the defining elements of the era, the uncomfortable reality is that neither terrorism nor the novel coronavirus pose any risk more severe than taking a bath.
However, the media hype – fueled by think tanks and governments drooling over the possibility of adopting controls that would normally spark popular revolt – has created the same climate of fear that allowed the imposition of the post-9/11 police state, paving the way for a post-Covid regime that will make the Patriot Act look cuddly.
The shocking changes to the American “way of life” that have followed both events were in no way required, or even logical, responses to the crises in question. It took an unlikely series of what the government described as “intelligence failures” for the events of 9/11 to fall into place, and the Trump administration scrapped completely adequate pandemic response plans to adopt a regime of lockdowns and economic shutdowns that will likely end up doing more harm than the virus itself. Had governments followed their own procedures, neither catastrophe likely would have happened.