And They All Lived Happily Ever After…
Once upon a time, there was a scientist named Dr. Garcia, and she was in a pickle. See, the year was 2020, and there was this new bizarre virus faffing about which her colleagues had named SARS-COV-2, more commonly known as COVID-19. The pandemic had lasted for barely a year. Yet, the people were already growing restless of the constant lockdowns, masks, and political strife.
Dr. Garcia knew that the people could only hold out for so much longer before anarchy flooded the streets. The world needed a vaccine, and it needed one quick. But how could Dr. Garcia and her colleagues from across the world develop a vaccine faster than any vaccine had ever been developed before?
It was simple—well, it wasn’t really. It was actually a bit of a headache. Using new technology based on what was developed previously for the SARS vaccine, Dr. Garcia and other scientists like her could rapidly develop a vaccine by December of 2020. It was a miracle! Surely, the pandemic would finally end now, left as a simple relic of the tepid 2020. And they all lived happily ever after.
Wait? What did you just say? What do you mean that wasn’t the end of the pandemic? They had the vaccine ready: several, in fact! Sure, they required doses, and at first, only the elderly could get them but—
Wait? COVID variants? Vaccine hesitancy? VACCINE DENIAL? What in the right, ruddy heck is going on?
Apologies, dear reader. It appears we haven’t reached the end of our story after all...but no matter! We shall surely reach our happily ever after soon enough!
Now, where was I? Ah yes, December 2020 going into 2021. So, apparently, I’d missed the fact that a new variant of COVID-19 called the Delta variant had been discovered in late 2020 and was already causing a right mess into 2021. There was also the usual anti-vaccine crowd, but they weren’t quite a worrying problem just yet.
More importantly, almost everybody who could get vaccinated tried to get vaccinated, which Dr. Garcia was quite pleased to see. More worrying, however, was the general public acting as though the pandemic was over simply because the vaccines had come out. Not enough people were vaccinated yet to reach herd immunity. And not all countries had equal access to the vaccines, with richer countries practically horsing the supply. Plus, the virus was mutating at a seemingly faster and faster rate. If herd immunity wasn’t reached quickly enough, the virus could mutate to the point that vaccines become ineffective!
Oh, but maybe she was worrying too much. Her friends and family were telling her to calm down and take the win. The new administration in the White House seemed far more receptive to listening to scientists. Perhaps there was hope after all. Perhaps, they’d reach a happily ever after yet.
Omicron? OMICRON? What in the good, bloody heavens is an OMICRON?
So, apparently, there’s a new variant in town… and it completely blows even the Delta variant out of the water. And apparently, anybody unvaccinated is very likely to get hospitalized. And even the ones who aren’t are still quite likely to catch it without a booster. And apparently, it’s giving children… neurological problems? Is this a virus or a Mummy’s curse?
Dr. Garcia doesn’t know what to do now. Even as they fall like flies, the unvaccinated are still steadfast in their fear of the vaccines. And the poor countries still lack normal access. One of Dr. Garcia’s colleagues from Nicaragua sent her a picture of a long line of people waiting to get vaccinated snaking around a dilapidated clinic. It looked like it was raining, too. She’d shuddered at the thought.
It looks like ending the pandemic would be harder than it first seemed, from unforeseen factors like the many, many variants, to what everyone should have seen coming, like the anti-vaccine movement standing in full force against the vaccines. It was as if though the story was never-ending, like the stubbornness and greed of man itself stood in the way of a quick, clean conclusion to the tattered tale. Dr. Garcia didn’t know. Dr. Garcia didn’t care. She had a meeting with her colleagues tomorrow and was about to get her first booster shot. She couldn’t find it in herself to have faith she wouldn’t need another.
For god's sake, get the good brandy. It seems that this happily ever after won’t be coming any time soon.