The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19) is here to stay and it’s about time for the world to accept that after two long years of struggling to eliminate it. The truth is, our efforts to vaccinate the majority of the population, observance of quarantine and health protocols, development of new antivirals, and creation of more convenient testing methods are not meant to get rid of the virus. They are now aspects of our new normal life and things that we have to live with in order to be functional again at a pre-pandemic level.
First of all, if we want to limit the number of infections to a minimum once the travel restrictions are removed, we have to identify and isolate early the individuals who positively have the virus. Timely detection and control is the best next thing to totally eliminating the virus, which is impossible because as long as not all humans are vaccinated there is still a chance that one of us is carrying the virus.
Also, there is such thing as viral mutation which enables the virus to adapt to the changing environment of its host and develops newer characteristics such as more virulence and faster transmissibility. So the best thing we can do is effectively identify the virus carriers and isolate them until their test results already show negative.
The most accurate method of testing for COVID 19 is the reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test which involves swabbing of the nasopharyngeal and/or oropharyngeal passages to obtain the specimen. However, some people find the method uncomfortable and would only undergo it if required and necessary.
The recent availability of rapid antigen tests using saliva as the specimen is a relief to many because of its convenience and a fast result that can be seen after 10 minutes. The accuracy of the rapid antigen test is also high, with 99% of its negative results being correct. Pioneer companies like Vaccin8 Plus in Sydney cater to small and large companies and schools that want to have their employees and students tested before going back to face-to-face interaction.
The company has a mobile service provider that goes to the clients and conducts the test skillfully to ensure the reliability of the results. To further confirm a positive result, the RT-PCR test can be used.
Timely case detection and isolation is only one strategy that will help reduce the number of COVID 19 cases. People should still be consistent with handwashing, wearing of masks in crowded indoor venues, and social distancing in order to further avoid transmission if ever there are carriers that were not accurately identified during the test.
Lastly, the innovation on how COVID 19 is managed during the treatment method is also vital to prevent a high mortality rate. How a population survives the virus without mortality indicates strong immunity of the herd. Eventually, the COVID 19 virus will still be carried by some individuals but it will no longer result in a pandemic if the population is able to manage the signs and symptoms effectively.
In time, this virus will be like the common flu which will be endemic in certain areas during certain seasons such as during winter and the days prior. We still do not know when this will happen so for now, we should stick to the proven and effective strategies to stay safe; prompt case detection and isolation, consistent compliance to health protocols, and effective treatment methods.