Researchers Say Social Distancing Could Be the Norm Until at Least 2022

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When are we going back to normal? It’s the question everyone wants answered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Researchers with Harvard say without a vaccine, the current social distancing norms could be here to stay until at least 2022.

“I know this is really hard to hear: we’re never going back,” Jodi Halpern, a professor of bioethics at UC Berkeley, said. “We have to realize that nothing will ever be the same. This is like a world war.”

Halpern said if the social distancing guidelines are loosened, expect the coronavirus to resurface with a vengeance.

“Opening soon will not save the economy because we will have a resurgence,” she said. “It will harm the economy more in the long run.”

Halpern points to the recently published Harvard study in which researchers said until a vaccine comes out, social distancing until at least 2022 is the only way to keep the coronavirus at bay. Researchers warn that even if the virus appears to have been wiped out by 2022, it could reappear in full force by 2024.

In the meantime, businesses in the Bay Area are coming to terms with the fact that the pandemic will continue to alter how they can do business for the foreseeable future. 

At the Wellspring Pharmacy in Oakland, customers can’t walk in anymore. They’re getting their medications from a mailbox slot. Ever since the stay-at-home order went into effect, pharmacist Andrew Beyers said his pharmacy has been footing the cost for delivering medication to his customers’ homes.

“The stimulus package that has been offered to us has not come out to us yet,” he said. “We’re just absorbing as much as we can as long as we can.”

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