How long before life is normal with COVID-19
WHAT does success look like in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? When will we know if we have "won"? When can life go back to normal?
These are some of the questions my patients are starting to ask and it good to see people looking ahead and it is important we do so with some hope.
In short, success will look like we had "overreacted".
If all of the measures and hardship and heartache that we are going through now work as intended, one day people will ask what all the fuss was about.
It would be naive to think we can totally stop any new cases so success is where the COVID-19 case numbers increase at a pace that our hospitals can cope with allowing us to provide people with their best chance of survival.
The good news is that we are starting to see some small wins in Australia with the flattening of the growth rate in new cases over the last few days nationwide and Townsville is doing even better.
If the social distancing and isolation measures are maintained then we are hopefully going to see further slowing in the rate of growth until such time as we can find a cure or a vaccine.
Sadly a vaccine solution is still over 12 to 18 months away as we need to be sure it is very safe before distributing it widely.
The vaccine needs to go through several stages of testing before entering human trials and there will need to be reassurance that it can be safely used in various population groups without harm.
Should we find the right vaccine there will then be a large program to distribute the vaccine which will take many months to deliver.
It will be the largest vaccination drive in the history of humankind.
There is some hope in the trials of new and novel medications but so far nothing significant seems to have been discovered. Whether we find a new medication that works to reduce severity of disease or a combination of medications, it will take months for the tests to prove it is safe and reasonable to roll out across the population.
We are in this for the long haul, there are no quick fixes and social isolation needs to continue.
The slowing of the growth rate has been one step in the path towards long-term success.
Originally published as How long before life is normal with COVID-19