Cautious optimism over better year

07 Jan, 2022 - 00:01 0 Views
Cautious optimism over better year

eBusiness Weekly

2021 sure wasn’t supposed to be this way.

After the long, locked-down nightmare that was 2020, 2021 dawned with the promise that vaccines would soon be widely available and bring an end to the horrifying death toll and a return to “normal” life.

Not so fast.

Instead, we argued about conspiracy theories and the constitutional right to go unmasked, while the virus continued to circulate (and mutate) and take more lives. About 61,9 percent of the US population is fully vaccinated, far short of the president Joe Biden administration’s hopes. Then came delta. And now omicron.

Incredibly, more Americans have died of this virus in 2021, with vaccines readily available, than in 2020.

Suddenly, it seems, the light at the end of the tunnel has dimmed if not gone out.

Facing yet another year of illness and death, how could any of us be optimistic about 2022?

Why should anyone be optimistic? Why should anyone believe things will ever get better?

And yet, there is the reason for hope — 9 reasons, in fact.

Buried under the layers of grief and loss, there are seeds of hope. Hope that science will prevail. Hope for new treatments and cures for the coronavirus and many other illnesses. Hope that life will get better, that our loved ones will stop dying and that this pandemic will become a dark memory instead of a daily reality.

Who’s resilient? Why you are

“I think people can look forward to appreciating just how resilient they are by taking a look back at how they’ve endured the past two years,” says Richard A. Friedman, a psychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine.

More than 7 in 10 Americans, ages 50 to 80, said they feel the same level of resilience -overcoming challenges, recovering, and bouncing back from adversity — as they did before the pandemic, according to the University of Michigan National Poll on Healthy Ageing. And 15 percent said they actually felt more resilient.

“Adversity is painful,” Friedman said, “but it can also make us stronger and better.

“We’ve learned what precautions to take to once again (mostly) live our lives.”

Biden was right when he said last week, “This is not March 2020.”

Nearly two years into the pandemic, we better understand how to take care of ourselves and our loved ones: get vaccinated and boosted, wear masks indoors, keep a distance and get tested.

Coronavirus testing and treatment, not just vaccines, will be the linchpins to the fight against coronavirus in 2022, says Arthur Caplan, professor of bioethics at New York University, who argues draconian measures like lockdowns no longer work and it’s time to move onto new strategies of containment.

Most schools and colleges reopened this year, as did some workplaces, and airports were once again packed this holiday season. N95 and KN95 masks are widely available online and in stores, as are disinfecting wipes and sprays.

(And, hurrah, toilet paper!) Starting in January, the federal government plans to distribute hundreds of millions of free at-home tests and to expand coronavirus testing sites across the country. And this month, the Food and Drug Administration approved two pills that high-risk patients with coronavirus can take at home to greatly reduce their chances of being hospitalised.

The success of mRNA vaccines bodes well for cancer treatments

The Pfizer and Moderna shots are messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines.

The use of mRNA has long intrigued researchers in treating a number of other diseases, including flu, Zika, rabies, and cytomegalovirus.

Researchers now think that mRNA can be used to rapidly create safe and effective vaccines to treat cancer. 

One example: Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre trials are underway testing mRNA vaccines against pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest malignancies.

This clinical trial is a year ahead of schedule, despite the challenges to perform such a complex study in the middle of a pandemic, said Vinod Balachandran, a surgeon-scientist at Sloan Kettering. — Washington Post.

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