No End in Sight?

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Reflecting on 30+ months of COVID and how to minimize its effects.

Rewind to February of 2020, I remember myself and other members of the then EP Monthly editorial board writing an article titled “Covid Myths.”

This article was meant to dispel current rumors about the severity of COVID-19 and was based on early data that we were receiving from the Chinese government on the number of cases and total deaths. Based on that information, we wrote an article and guidelines stating that COVID -19 would quote “not be a big deal” most people quote “would have no long-term side effects and minimal symptoms, if any.”


I still remember being on vacation with my wife in Belize as a follow-up email was sent to that same group. A new batch of data from China showed a near double-digit mortality rate, and at that time, cases were popping up in Italy and other countries where many people were having severe symptoms.

Over the next month, the number of deaths would rise dramatically. I still remember going to CORD in New York, where it was the normal hustle and bustle, and going to Grand Central Station to people watch. Fast forward four days to when I flew home to Columbus, where La Guardia was a literal ghost town, and my flight was basically empty.

Bring us back to the present day we are 30 months into a pandemic that was supposed to last three, six, nine or 12 months at most. How we got here is a long story that depends, unfortunately, on your political leaning, which will have you tell one side of it.


At the end of the day, working in the trenches of emergency medicine (with significant time also spent cross covering ICUs) in two states, multiple “waves,” having friends and family get COVID, including myself (twice).

Having some of them prematurely die as a result has given me some perspective. And as the latest variant starts to increase the caseload, ED visits, hospitalizations, and most likely deaths, it’s hard to wonder if there is an end in sight.

I don’t claim to have more information than anyone else, and definitely wouldn’t claim to be the most intelligent person in the room. Still, I’ll make the following observations about how we got here (by avoiding the topics I’ll bring up) and how I think we can move forward while minimizing the effects.

  1. Don’t try to be right. I think one of the biggest issues that have gone on for the past 30 months is everyone’s trying to be “right,” or be the “most right”. It’s like we’ve forgotten how to just have a discussion anymore. People are so wrapped up in being right that they can’t even see other points of view. It’s like we’re all just shouting at each other, and no one is really listening. We’ve allowed ourselves to be put into boxes. And once we’re in those boxes, it’s hard to see outside of them. We need to learn how to have civil discourse again. We need to learn how to listen to each other and respect each other, even if we don’t agree with each other. Trying to be right has led governing bodies, organizations and prominent individuals to make many mistakes, all of which have had consequences. I still remember my first summer in Florida as our governor “dropped the masks” to “free” everyone, and then our local delta wave hit. You can look up the cases/deaths to understand the consequences. I’ll say it again, don’t try to be right, try to do right.
  2. Get vaccinated. Despite what the conspiracy theorists would tell you, vaccination has been found to be safe, effective and one of the best things you can do to minimize your symptoms if you contract it, and this includes getting boosters.
  3. Stay home if you’re sick and ask that others do the same. School, work, church, the game, your vacation; all of these events can be missed, rescheduled or done in a remote fashion. Getting your network sick isn’t worth the risk. And while you’re staying home remember that the “miracle cures” perform no better than supportive care for the average person. Consult your doctor if you are at risk for severe symptoms or if they become severe.
  4. Do “smart things” that make sense, and consciously choose to do them. Can your meeting be remote? Ask yourself, am I traveling to an area with a higher caseload than where I live, do I have a connection at a major airport, are the people I’m going to visit sick, or at risk of getting sick if I am? Should I test myself and my family before our “big trip” so we and those we’ll be around can remain safe? Am I eligible to get a booster? And finally, here’s the health reminder: Some of the smartest things you can do include:
  1. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you sneeze or cough.
  4. Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently touched, such as door knobs, countertops and phones.
  5. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent the spread of illness.
  6. Choose to wear a mask in public places, mainly if you are not able to social distance.

The most important thing is to be informed and make wise choices that make sense for you and your situation.


Like most people I know, I wish this would all just disappear. Being realistic is understanding that, like influenza, we can most likely expect a version of COVID to happen seasonally in the near future.

So, whether you decide to hop on board the above suggestions or “wait and see” I hope you can find the time to reflect on where we have come from and how you can be an influencer in our future.


Andy Little, DO specializes in Emergency Medicine at AdventHealth East in Orlando Florida.

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