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Good Morning, Buffalo: We never thought the pandemic would last this long. What's next?

Good Morning, Buffalo: We never thought the pandemic would last this long. What's next?

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Oct. 12, 2021

Virus Outbreak (copy)

In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, a syringe is prepared with the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic at the Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pa. Statistics suggest that mandates are making a difference in vaccination rates.

Pandemic Lessons: We never thought it would last this long. What's next?

Covid-19 has never been a good time.

There were brief blips – much of summer 2020, and earliest part of summer 2021 – when case counts were low and life felt a tiny bit normal.

There have been moments of hope, most notably when the first vaccines were revealed and approved late last fall and winter.

But mostly, it’s been tough – and indisputably devastating, with one in 500 Americans lost to the virus.

Also lost, it seems, is whatever sense of collective resolve we may have felt early on. On an individual level, that determination to push forward still exists. But are we joined together in it? Hardly.

Back in spring 2020, we felt collectively hopeful that we would beat this virus in weeks, maybe months. Or, at least, it felt implausible that we couldn’t.

“Early on, like any disaster – earthquakes, hurricanes – everybody is just pumped completely full of adrenaline and you get right in there and you get your hands into it,” said Dr. John Sellick, an epidemiologist who, with his University at Buffalo colleague Dr. Thomas Russo, has been a leading medical voice in the media, helping guide Western New Yorkers through the pandemic.

“But then after a couple weeks or a couple months of picking up debris and trying to rebuild things, you say, ‘I’ve really had enough of this now. We have to stop,’ ” Sellick, who also practices at Veterans Affairs and Kaleida Health, said recently. “I think that’s where most people are.”

True. But we also realize this isn’t going away. Not completely – and so the new hope is that Covid-19 becomes something between a cold and the flu. Worth avoiding when you can, mostly manageable when you get it, and largely containable so that outbreaks become mostly a detail of the past. I explore the path to that new reality in this week’s Pandemic Lessons.

– Tim O’Shei


[More: Stay current with Covid-19 in WNY with The News' updated maps and statistics]


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Roast duck at Cozy Thai in Hamburg

Cozy Thai in Hamburg serves roast duck with broccoli, carrots, red peppers and its homemade duck sauce.

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