Monday, May 2nd was a day that the American people have been waiting to see for over a year now. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its top officials finally put pen to paper to admit that COVID-19 is much like influenza. As such it is nothing more than another respiratory disease that we will be facing yearly.
FDA Commissioner Robert Califf, Principal Deputy Commissioner Janet Woodcock, and the agency’s top vaccine official, Dr. Peter Marks issued a statement to the Journal of the American Medical Association. In there they detailed how people need to accept the reality of it being here to stay, and how required yearly vaccinations will be tailored to the strain deemed to be the most threatening to the public.
“Widespread vaccine- and infection-induced immunity, combined with the availability of effective therapeutics, could blunt the effects of future outbreaks. Nonetheless, it is time to accept that the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is the new normal. It will likely circulate globally for the foreseeable future, taking its place alongside other common respiratory viruses such as influenza. And it likely will require similar annual consideration for vaccine composition updates in consultation with the [FDA].”
This kind of information is nothing new, but these vaccines are still highly debated. While there is evidence of the vaccine being thoroughly tested and safe, the reports are clouded at best, and feature very little testing on the specific vaccine itself; it focuses mostly on testing for similar vaccines. Naturally, this breeds further concern that these yearly vaccines would be issued to cause further harm than the first round caused. Many who had no previous vaccine issues found themselves riddled with side effects, and these new yearly boosters could prove to be even less safe.
Within the early days of COVID-19 many elected officials, medical professionals, and public health experts explained COVID as being nothing more than another flu. When President Trump treated it similarly and let the states decide what was best for them, he was vilified. Now that the proof is coming out (after President Biden gets into office no less) he has been proven to be right. The knowledge he and other conservatives tried to spread was consistently snuffed out as disinformation, downplayed, and ridiculed.
Despite the pushback, those who treated COVID like it was no big deal have suffered minimal consequences. While some have unfortunately perished, many were listed as being COVID cases falsely, and others had factors that made the disease far more deadly for them. The one positive that has come from their deaths is the advancements we have made in medical science since that time. We know how to treat it, and cures are being developed to wipe it out quickly.
From ivermectin to high doses of vitamins, people who found themselves infected with COVID were trying anything they could to stay safe. Eating healthy and taking care of your body is still some of the best instructions given to the public. Regular exercise and proper diet lead to less pressure on your respiratory system, and much like the flu makes it easier to recover from being sick.
Unlike the flu though, there have been small anecdotal studies using other substances to treat and prevent COVID. While other nations found compounds in THC (the compound that produces the high in marijuana) can be useful in fighting the infection, the US has been unable to replicate these trials due to the schedule 1 status of the substance. Should President Biden do what he promised the American people and take it off schedule 1 status, we could learn a lot more about how this could help or hinder COVID recovery. Especially when used in conjunction with other forms of treatment.