Living with COVID-19 | Richmond Free Press

Our nation marks the beginning of the third year of life with COVID-19.

For most, COVID-19 has been a painful and dramatic adjustment in our daily lives, including our work, school, social, and religious routines and interactions. We lived behind masks and stayed closer to home in order to stay healthy and safe.

More than two years later, many of us have lost family and friends to the virus, which has claimed the lives of more than 960,000 Americans and more than 19,300 Virginians.

In Richmond and Henrico, Chesterfield and Hanover counties alone, more than 2,380 people have died from COVID-19 and its complications since the pandemic began in March 2020.

An estimated 23 million Americans are currently living with the aftermath of COVID-19, known as “long COVID”, which experts say can impact the lungs, heart, brain, neurological and digestive and possibly all of the above. Medical studies are being conducted on long COVID at research institutes across the country, including the VCU health system.

We urge people with persistent symptoms of COVID-19 infection to participate in these clinical studies to help expand the body of knowledge about this disease and treatment options for those currently affected and for those at risk. to come.

We must remain vigilant against COVID-19 and the range of variants that health officials are currently seeing in parts of Europe and China that are expected to seep into the United States in the coming months. Unvaccinated people of all ages continue to be most at risk of contracting the virus, along with people aged 65 and over and those who are immunocompromised or have underlying health conditions.

Pfizer and Moderna officials are discussing the possibility of a second booster — or a fourth vaccine — to give many people in those categories greater protection.

We all yearn for the day when life can get back to normal, or at least closer to what it was before COVID-19 hit in March 2020.

As mask mandates have fallen to the mercy of political whims and those who equate not wearing a mask with a declaration of freedom, we encourage people to continue wearing masks in public places and in groups. , even around their loved ones. Masks, hand washing and social distancing remain our only defense against illness and/or transmission of the virus to others, including our loved ones.

As we enter the third year of life with COVID-19, we are seeing changes at the state and local levels with the closure of free mass vaccination and testing centers. Federal authorities are currently exploring ways to transfer the costs of many of these free services to insurance companies. It is unclear what this will mean for those without health insurance or those who are underinsured.

Federal officials are also asking Congress for an additional $22.5 billion in funding to help pay for testing, treatment and enough vaccines to cover a fourth dose for all Americans.

There are many unknowns on the road ahead with COVID-19. Our hope is that our fellow Americans and Richmond residents will navigate it safely.

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