Illinois, and the majority of other states, are under mandatory “Stay at Home” or “Shelter in Place” orders. Here in Illinois the order is (currently) in place until the end of April. What happens then is anyones guess.
The big question is …
When will life return to normal?– Everyone
I have a theory that’s not going to be very popular … and probably be viewed as cycnical.
In a nutshell: This IS the new “Normal”!
First and foremost: I am NOT a doctor, epidemiologist, or public health expert. The following is just my personal opinion.
I don’t think the stay at home orders can be rescinded until there is a vaccine for COVID-19. Everything I’ve read indicates that a vaccine is at least a year away because it has to be created, reviewed, tested, and approved.
Currently the stay at home order is in place to keep people from infecting other people, ‘flattening the curve’ by reducing the impact on the healthcare system (such as it is). By all accounts, it appears to be helping mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
But what happens when the stay at home orders are rescinded … when people are allowed to go out and be near other people again? Those who are are infected, but undiagnosed, will simply start spreading the infection again. Since COVID-19 has such a long incubation period without any outward signs of infection, the virus will just start spreading again … and put the healthcare system back under pressure.
In my opinion, the stay at home orders cannot be rescinded until there is a fully tested vaccine that has been given to the majority of the population. Only then will we be able to be sure that nobody can spread the virus. There will probably be a (hopefully) small subset of the population that cannot be given the vaccine … but they should be covered by herd immunity. There will also be the anti-vaxers (aka pro-deathers) that refuse the vaccine because … well, just because (they are idiots).
Obviously this is going to be a major impact on the worlds economies … it already is. If we have to stay in this mode for a really long time, there are going to be a lot of businesses that can’t recover at all.
Some are going to call me cynical … and I don’t argue that (cynics are never disappointed and sometimes pleasantly surprised).
I prefer to think of myself as a realist … or a pragmatist. Maybe it’s because I’m a programmer … always planning for the worst.
Now … since I’m not a epidemiologist … I am fully willing to accept that my hypothesis is completely wrong. If you know better, please educate me in the comments below.