ABC13 decided to take a look at the remainder of 2020. Family gatherings over the holidays in November and December are already raising red flags. We asked Health Authority for the Houston Health Department Dr. David Persse if getting together with loved ones is a good idea.
"Every day when you wear a mask and you clean surfaces and you don't gather in groups and you help drive the positivity rate across the community down lower and lower and lower, you're making it a little bit easier to have a gathering of just your family members," said Dr. Persse.
The positivity rate shows the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
Persse says the lower the positivity rate, the closer we can get to a normal life.
"We can start moving in that direction, responsibly, but that means we need to do that homework today to get this virus contained so that Thanksgiving and Christmas we can have closer to normal family events," he said.
Let's fast forward to the second or third quarter of 2021 when experts predict a vaccine could be distributed.
- Will things look normal after that?
"The harsh reality about this virus is that we're going to be contending with this virus for a long time. I hate to say this but we may be talking years. The reason for that is, once a vaccine is available it's going to take an amount of time to get enough vaccine out in the community for everyone that wants to be vaccinated to get vaccinated," said Persse.
The more people that are vaccinated, the more immunity that's in the community, that's the idea behind herd immunity. But, if not enough people get the vaccine or immunity isn't effective we'll have another issue.
"If we don't get to that level, then the virus will continue to linger," said Persse.
What about the months following the release of the vaccination?
How long will the immunity last?
"There's still going to be a lot of back and forth. For instance, how long is immunity going to last? How durable is the protection? Does it last six months? A year? Will it require ten years? How often will a booster be required? We don't know that yet," said Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine Peter Hotez.
So, it could be a while before things go back to normal. Masking may be part of our lives for a while but the good news is the positivity rate has been on the decline.
One thing Persse said we can all do in the months and years to come is think a little bit more about each other.
"This virus seems to remind us that each individual one of us has a responsibility not only to our immediate family but to your neighbors and to your co-workers and their families. So, we need to have that mind shift where we're not just about ourselves but about everyone else," he said.
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