When will life go back to normal? This is undeniably a million-dollar question at hand for which people all over the world are anxiously looking up to the experts for providing us with an estimated optimistic timeline to living ‘the normal’ once again.

Having being stuck with the COVID pandemic for more than a year now under the stay-at-home orders, life has either toppled, receded, been hampered, or become difficult to conduct at every front ranging from the personal and private domains to the corporate stream, and up to the global level. It has affected the lives of all at large with some managing to survive and succeed while others struggling with limited means and resources, and others running out of opportunities.

An overall analysis of the Corona highpoints the adopted patterns of monotonous house routines, transitional job patterns treading on the technological virtual tracks, reduced socialization and social activities, affected erudition, declined opportunities and growth, limited movement nationally and internationally, etc to be the trends of the hour.

Indeed pandemics are always hard to predict, but will school reopen on a regular basis? Will job patterns revert to the traditional ways? Will unrestricted socializing and partying out with friends ever be enjoyed again? And will we ever get to live the free lifestyle again? The list simply goes on.

The timely endeavors by health experts and scholars to produce authentic and effective vaccines for safeguarding the spread of the rampant viral menace have indeed given a ray of hope. The commencement of the vaccination sessions and their impact worldwide is perhaps the first most positive indication of a gust of change that can actually help us tentatively predict when life will go back to normal.

On record, three vaccines have been manufactured and authorized for public use.  However, apprehensions persist on the potential risk of genetic variants which according to conducted research can prove to be far more infectious and difficult to treat by the developed vaccines.

As per the statistical reports of the California Department of Public Health, 20% of the state’s inhabitants in the US have been at least partially vaccinated with still an average of 64,000 new Corona cases being reported per day.

Many state governors in the US on grounds of improved situations have declared the lifting of the mandatory condition of wearing a mask. However, with the recurring waves of the pandemic attack and possible lingering of the virus, health experts deem it too premature and unwise to leave the precautionary measure of mask-wearing which could be a heartbreaking opportunity for the virus to strike again.

According to Dr. William Schaffner, professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, masks should be the last thing to let go of while reverting back to normality.

Some consulted experts, less optimistic about returning to the normal life in the near future, holding a common ground of opinion, proposed that with favorable weather conditions at a point in between June and September along with the implementation of the vaccine endeavor, it was quite probable to resume many past activities in a safer way. This may include increased traveling, indoor gatherings, physical presence at workplaces, and dining out at social public venues.

So, if in the US or elsewhere,  people step up for a shot to revert to the normal this summer, it may not necessarily be disappointing but nevertheless not be free of potential risk.

It is thus anticipated that the coming fall will be a seasonal phase of transition ‘back-to-normal. However, according to Howard Markel, a medical historian (University of Michigan), though we will get there soon, the journey will be so gradual that it may not be even discernible and this transition will not be an instant switchback.

Amidst the positive list of factors addressing when life will go back to normal, we cannot overlook the concerns that could derail the anticipated global freedom from the shackles of the virus.  With regard to this aspect, disease experts have stated that at least 70% to 80% immunity of the country is required to starve the Coronavirus to return to normal routines.   Hence, immunization has to be pursued on a serious note by people if they are looking forward to winning back their lost inherent freedom of movement and socialization.

If the production rate of vaccines continues to keep pace, vaccination of 300 million adults in the US will be accomplished with the reserve supply utilized for the +16 teenagers. US president, Joe Biden is confident of meeting the target of adult vaccination by the end of May 2021, which as per Simone Wildes ( Disease Physician, South Shore Health, Massachusetts) is a huge undertaking, but nevertheless not impossible.

Another encouraging feedback came from Dr. Anthony Fauci on Thursday, who after the White House announcement of accelerated vaccine supply from Johnson & Johnson, seemed to be optimistic towards the coming fall signaling the humming of revived social beat directing towards normality. If the target is attained as intended, the coming June and July may be the dawn to when life will go back to normal, but it all depends upon the unfolding of produced results.

With the progressing advancements, precautionary strategies, and manufactured COVID vaccine ardently underway, there has been an optimist implication witnessing a minor drift back to the somewhat normal. In the wake of all these developments, can we assume that the spell of the pandemic era seems to be on the horizon? Indeed the very thought of this tentative news comes as a gust of fresh breeze for all, but setting a specific timeline of scooting back to the past-normal régime seems to be premature as yet.

After such a rigorous tenure of delimited lifestyle and working habits, addressing the query of  ‘When will life go back to normal is indeed a challenge for the health officials.

Dr. William Schaffner, professor of Preventive Medicine and Infectious Diseases, Vanderbilt University Medical Center expressed the view that we must redefine what we are expecting as ‘normal’ to avoid disappointment.

The once-upon-a-time memories of our most recent past seem to be pleasantly-haunting us all with every tick of the hour, and all eager to relish an unrestricted pattern of living a pre-pandemic life.