Tired of masks and social distancing? Get used to it! Tired of forgoing contact sports? Tough! Tired of avoiding crowds. Too bad!

The COVID-19 pandemic shows no signs of abating anytime soon. The SARS-2 virus rules for the near future. We need to learn to live with the virus threat until a vaccine is developed and herd immunity occurs.

Our congregating practices are not healthy. At the time of the Influenza epidemic of 1917, there were just under 2 billion people in the world. Now there are 7.8 billion people and counting. People all over the world are connected and packed together in planes, ships, trains, subways, and buses. We are just lucky that it took this long for a virus to figure out how to infect so many of us and do such a good job of it. SARS-1 missed us in the United States. MERS wasn’t quite good enough. The Zika virus did not travel well. The Ebola virus did not get to us here. SARS-2 succeeded by infecting so many people silently, before an attempt could be made to control it by quarantine.

When we recover from this epidemic, and we will, there surely will be another virus on the near horizon that could cause as much, if not more, human carnage. Overpopulation, crowding, and travel will see to that. Good hygiene practices from now on are important. The most dangerous animal in the world to you is another human being. Protect yourself at all times: Wash your hands, keep your distance, and wear a mask in crowds. Even when the epidemic is over. Do it forever.

Dr. John Holcomb