This Pandemic Isn’t Over, Here’s Why


By Terry Canales, Staff Writer

In the past months, there have been many events that have rocked the lives of billions around the globe. From the very start of the year, we thought there would be yet another Middle Eastern war against Iran and thought that President Trump would be booted from office during the impeachment trials.

Things only got worse as we progressed through the year; it could be said that we’ve been through a lot, from race riots to one of the most unstable elections in U.S. history. However, if there’s one event that has completely overshadowed all these, it is the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 has been an event that set off a domino effect, leading to not only to millions of deaths, but to the biggest recession since 2008, a dramatic rise in unemployment and homelessness, a rapid switch to online platforms, and certainly many other things that haven’t happened yet. However, now with not one, or two, but three vaccines out there, there’s a ray of hope that this may soon all end, or will it?

A Brief Timeline

It is hard to pinpoint exactly when this pandemic started. The official story says that it started in mid-December of 2019 in Wuhan, China, and some government reports say it started as early as November of the same year. No matter how it started, the Chinese government immediately began clamping down on the subject by imprisoning journalists and doctors that knew or tried to report about it. Since China is the second most powerful nation on Earth, second only the United States, it is a country that trades a lot globally, which made the virus quietly and quickly spread to Europe and the U.S. –China’s biggest markets–by mid-January, 2020.

Since everyone was distracted with the impeachment trials and the U.S.-Iran Crisis, or were simply living their normal daily lives, by late January, the first cases began to appear in the U.S. However, many dismissed it and saw it as a slightly stronger flu strain. Also, since cases were so sporadic, people simply didn’t care about it, myself included. .

Due to that underestimation and naivete of everyone towards it, cases and deaths of the virus began to surge by mid-March. Many European countries placed strict curfews and a ban on all public gatherings of any kind. The U.S, due to the Trump administration’s ignorance, was one of the last countries to enforce these kinds of rules. Cases began to decline, but then everyone started to re-open. Unfortunately, this also coincided with when people began to riot and protest in the streets after George Floyd was killed by a policeman, usually with little to no protection, which caused cases to spike globally yet again, and here we are today.

A Light at The End of the Tunnel?

According to a New York Times graph, as of December 15th, 2020, there have been more than 300,000 deaths in the U.S, and about 1.62 million known deaths worldwide. But now a ray of hope has appeared. On November 16, American pharmaceutical company Moderna announced a new vaccine with a 94 percent efficacy rate. Later on the 23rd, British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced another vaccine with a 90 percent efficacy rate, and then American pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced one more vaccine with a similar efficacy rate.

As of now, someone has already been the first to be vaccinated with the Pfizer vaccine, and the Moderna vaccine has already been approved in countries like the U.S, Canada, and Britain, and is on its way to be distributed. Many countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East have approved Russian and Chinese vaccines, which in my opinion, are quite dodgy to be least.

But that doesn’t mean that the new vaccines appearing here in the West are any better. Pretty much as soon as the Moderna vaccine was approved, people began to meet the news with increasing skepticism, myself included. Many people think that the vaccine may either not work, be worse than the virus itself, or in the craziest of theories, that it’ll serve for the government to track everyone. But all this skepticism is the least of our problems, which is the focus of this story.

This Isn’t Over Yet

Since the announcement of the vaccine, many people were convinced that the pandemic was over, and began going out to public places again, such as restaurants and beaches, mostly with little to no protection. Since they didn’t learn from the second wave, their false sense of security might cause a third surge in cases and deaths. To make matters worse, that wave might have already started in late autumn  and in early winter of 2020, when temperatures began to drop. These lower temperatures make people more vulnerable to more ordinary sicknesses like the common cold and the flu.

The problem with this is that the person with the flu or a cold is obviously going to recover, but their immune systems will be left weak, and that will go together well with COVID-19 as bread and butter. Not to mention, people have been meeting and gathering for the holidays, and if you add the last two factors, you have a fatal trio that will cause a third spike in cases before the vaccines really start entering the big picture.

Another thing that is affecting people’s reasoning is the new year itself. Many people think that just because 2020 is behind us, that this virus is no longer dangerous. But, one thing is to be hopeful, and the other is to be ignorant, and it’s that ignorance by the people and the politicians that got us into this pickle in the first place. People will begin to go out, many without protection, and we’ll have a repeat of what happened after the last two spikes, and with this new, more contagious COVID-19 strain, it will take far longer for us to truly be in the safe zone.


In conclusion, this past year was rocky with this pandemic and all, but these vaccines will likely make things start to settle down by mid 2021. As for me, I’ll be sitting out from taking the vaccine, unless it is absolutely necessary, and I’m sure many share the same opinion. What is important to know is that the virus is still out there, still killing people, and causing chaos. This pandemic is not all over.

How much more deadly are these new COVID-19 strains?

The British Strain

According to Business Today, the new virus variant, also known as B.1.1.7, that popped up there, is not that any more deadly than the original strain that appeared in Wuhan, but it is about 70 percent more contagious than the original strain. It is known to also have more than 17 genetic changes than the original. As of January 12th, more than half of all COVID-19 cases and deaths in Great Britain are from the new strain. Also, as of now, cases of the new variant have appeared in India, Canada, and on the East and West coasts of the United States.

The South African Strain

Shortly after, according to the CDC, there was yet another new strain of the virus, this time coming from South Africa. The strain, B. 351, is similar to the variant that appeared in Britain a little earlier, in the way that it is not that more dangerous or deadly than the original strain but is far more contagious, mostly due to it having a protein absent in the British strain that allows it to bypass the immune system by fooling the antibodies into not attacking it, according to The Scientist. As of now, no cases of it have appeared in the U.S, but it just goes to show that we can’t let our guard slip, especially now.