IT'S been 18 months. And we’re all tired. We want this thing that ails us so, to end. We can’t live in constant fear, worry and anxiety over infection, disease, death. We can’t live with our mental health constantly on the edge.

We can’t continue to live in an economy so depressed that for the businesses still in operation today, many are operating at a loss, experiencing revenue figures from 10 years back. Yes, it’s that bad.

But they forge on, to provide income to their employees and to serve the needs of their clients, but also in anticipation of better times ahead. But for how long can businesses hold on?

It’s been 18 months. Many people have lost jobs and sources of income. Even if the economy were to completely reopen tomorrow, it will take time for people to reacquire the purchasing power they had pre-pandemic.

Will this pandemic ever end? Experts tell us, it will. We just don’t know when.

This pandemic will likely end not with the virus disappearing but with the virus ironically finding a permanent home on this planet. We simply must find a way to co-exist with it. How?

Think about a toxic person you can’t eliminate from your life. If you have no choice but to live with this person, then practice avoidance—at all costs.

We can’t eradicate this virus so we should avoid contact with it—at all costs. Wear a mask, put on a shield, practice hand hygiene, keep safe distances, stay in well-ventilated spaces and get vaccinated.

When a population acquires widespread immunity from a virus through infection or vaccination, the virus loses its capacity to replicate exponentially. This is how a virus becomes endemic. While its presence continues to persist, it loses its potency to create a pandemic.

This is how this pandemic ends. But when?

Two factors are necessary for a virus to spread. One, enough susceptible people. Two, enough contact between the virus and the susceptible. We can break virus transmission and stop virus spread by reducing the number of the susceptible and by not creating situations and environments that bring the virus in contact with the susceptible.

How? One more time for the people at the back.

We vaccinate as many people as we can to reduce the number of the susceptible and to create a protective bubble around those who will always be susceptible because their bodies are not strong enough to develop enough antibodies to fight the virus.

We practice minimum health protocols to reduce possible contact with the virus.

It’s been 18 months. We’re not clueless. We’re not powerless. We now possess the strategic plans and weapons to defeat the enemy. Do we fight with all we’ve got or do we surrender and count the body bags?

It’s up to us—how we want the next 18 months to be.