The pandemic that has set the stage for this new decade seems to not be budging. I was already working from home when it first hit, so I didn’t recognize its severity until I was about to start grad school. I got into the program of my dreams at the beginning of the year, but as I was about to begin my first semester in the spring, everything shut down. The program went online for the safety of students and staff, and the age of Zoom began. In the last few months, things seemed to have gotten better. My city of Denver started reopening businesses, restaurants, and gyms. I even started selling my art at open-air socially distanced markets again.
However, the state of the pandemic did not improve for long. Whether it was because people were not following social-distancing or protective guidelines, or local governments reopened things too quickly, the number of cases has been steadily climbing over the last several weeks. My university announced that the next semester will also be completely virtual. The art markets here in Denver also shut down again. Several countries, such as the U.K., France, and Germany, have gone back into lockdown. As this next wave of the COVID pandemic sweeps through the world, scientists look to our immunity against this virus. A new study published in the U.K. points to a decline in immunity against the virus rather than a strengthening.
The study tested 365,000 randomly selected British adults over three months. Blood samples were tested for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies at the end of June and then again in September. At the end of June, approximately 6% of the tested population had antibodies against the coronavirus. By September, that number had dropped to 4.4%. This means that the people who thought they were safe from contracting the virus because they tested positive for having antibodies were no longer immune only a few months later. The scientists at Imperial College London have said that their data is consistent with similar studies run in other countries.
So what does this mean for us? Many people believed that once they had the antibodies against coronavirus, they were immune to contracting it and could return to a more “normal” life again without having to worry as much. This is not true. We now know that when someone tests positive for antibodies, it doesn’t mean that they will have antibodies forever. This means that you can contract the virus in the future. Of course, even if you have antibodies, they do not protect the people around you who may not have antibodies if you encounter a live strain of the virus.
At this time, the best protection against the COVID-19 virus will be a development of a vaccine. In the meantime, please remember to wear your mask, wash it often, and sanitize your hands and space. Stay safe and healthy dear reader!
What do you miss the most from before the pandemic, and how have you been finding an alternative during these times? I’d love to know!
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Photo: Dev Asangbam on Unsplash