What is Your Pandemic Endgame?

Uncategorized Oct 21, 2021

What is your pandemic endgame?  As we get ready for the rollout of an approved vaccine for 5-11 year olds in the U.S., many of us are wondering what does a new normal look like, and how will we know when we get there?

None of us has a crystal ball, but this post focuses on some questions to ask yourself and others as you navigate your way forward in a world where we will likely  have to live with the presence of Covid-19 for the foreseeable future.  


The Delta Variant Seems To Have Put Herd Immunity Out of Reach in the Near Future

So Where are We Going From Here?  Endemic Covid-19...

If herd immunity is probably out of reach, at least in the immediate future, the path forward seems to be about living in a world in which we transition from pandemic to endemic Covid...We already live in a world in which the flu is endemic.  The flu virus is always out there in the world but most of the time it's not spreading rapidly or unpredictably.  Most of us feel able to go on with our lives without major disruption from fears that we will get exposed to and infected by the flu.  

What is Your "OK-Covid Threshold?" 

This will be a crucial question for defining your  “new normal” in a world with endemic Covid.  Chances are you already know what your threshold is for being OK with with the flu and other endemic diseases we live with--but what about Covid?

Two Key Questions for Determining Your OK-Covid Threshold:

  1. Am I OK with getting exposed to and infected by Covid-19? 
    • If not, what would it take for me to feel OK about this?
  2. Am I OK with people I spend time with in person getting exposed to and infected by Covid-19?
    • If not, what would it take for me to feel OK about this?


Some Factors That Might Influence Your OK Covid Threshold

Your OK Covid threshold is likely going to evolve over time.  So what are the factors you might be considering as you decide whether you are OK getting exposed to and infected by Covid?  The video walks through a range of possibilities, from subjective to objective, that might influence the OK-Covid threshold of yourself and others.

  • Worldview: Traditional, Modernist, Post-Modern, Integral, Other?
  • Psychology: how do you balance your fundamental needs (certainty vs. connection etc?)
  • Social cues from those around you
    • Level of social stigma for getting infected
    • Level of social stigma for taking precautions
  • Economic, social and cultural costs of continued precautions (how bad has it been for you so far?)
  • Existing health conditions and degree of vulnerability to infection and severe illness from covid (self and others)
  • Vaccination status and willingness (self and others)
  • Vaccination efficacy at preventing infection
  • Vaccination efficacy at preventing severe illness & death
  • Vaccination efficacy at preventing long term complications
  • Availability of treatments for preventing severe illness and/or long-term complications
  • Availability of effective anti-viral air filtration for indoor spaces
  • Availability of reliable, instant DIY testing for infection
  • Availability of reliable real time air sampling for live virus detection

How Do The People in Your Life Answer The OK-Covid Threshold Questions for Themselves?

Needless to say, this is going to have a lot to do with how your own "new normal" takes shape, no matter how you answer these questions for yourself.  In thinking about this, it can be helpful to use evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar's framework for the concentric circles of relationships in your life.  Divergence in "OK-Covid" thresholds within your closest circles are likely to be the most challenging to navigate.

How Do Strangers in the Places and Spaces You Want to Be Answer the OK-COVID Threshold Questions?

For many of us, you don't have to travel far from home in this pandemic world  to witness to dramatically divergent social norms on everything from masking to mass events.  These local "weather patterns" in belief and behavior will matter a lot to shaping your new normal in a world with endemic Covid as well.

How Do People All Over the World Answer the OK-Covid Threshold Questions?

As we've seen so dramatically throughout the variant-driven waves of the pandemic so far, we are truly impacted on a global basis.  The availability of vaccines and treatments all over the world will matter to your new normal--and so will the behavior and beliefs of people all over the world. 

How Do Units of Government, Businesses and Other Institutions  Answer the OK-Covid Threshold Questions for their Citizens and Patrons?

We certainly know that variations in policy by governments, corporations and other institutions have been a big factor in our experience during Covid's pandemic phase.  This is likely to remain true as Covid shifts from pandemic to endemic.


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