ASK AMY: Offering hope regarding the endless pandemic

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Dear Amy: I have noticed in many responses about COVID-19, you and many others have said things like, “When this is over, we can get together” or, “When we reach the end of the virus, life will return to normal.”


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In my mind we are now two years into what was supposed to last for 14 days. When is everyone going to realize that this virus is never going away?!

For me, with the exception of work, I’m completely isolated from the world — except for the internet.

I would love to get out like I did prior to the pandemic, but I don’t see this ever ending.

Why keep people’s hopes up and not prepare them for what could be forever?

– Over it and Hopeless

Dear Hopeless: As of this writing, we are experiencing an alarming surge in hospitalizations, as the pandemic stretches into its third year.

Yes, the end seems to be receding into the distance with every passing complication, but the reason to keep people’s hopes up is because … the pandemic WILL end, just as the pandemics that came before it also eventually transitioned from pandemic to “endemic.”


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This virus is not going away, but the pandemic will shift into endemic status, and the virus causing COVID-19 will become one of many viruses that sweep through the Earth’s human and animal population, mutate, and sweep through again. Vaccinations, and medications and remedies treating symptoms will help people to cope with having the virus.

According to the World Health Organization, the only viral disease we humans have ever totally eradicated is smallpox, which had been kicking around the planet for a thousands of years. Now, the only remaining smallpox pathogens exist in laboratories.

Viruses causing other pandemics and epidemics — including polio — still exist, but we live with them, mitigating the risks.


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Your choice to trust some initial reports that this would last for two weeks was understandable, but this viral outbreak didn’t last for two weeks.

After the tragedy of 9/11, we adjusted to our “new normal.” Nations rise and fall; natural disasters buffet our landscape. Life can be very hard.

In terms of your own physical and mental health, you can get out – and you should get out. You should spend as much time as possible outdoors. You can safely meet people for walks or visits outside. You can minimize the health risk to you and others by mask wearing, social distancing, and washing your hands well. Humans are social beings, and spending time safely with other people will be good for your health.

You can also examine your internet usage to see what is helping and what might be harming your mental health.


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Also, pick up a book. There are many different ways to experience the richness of being in the world. Reading a good novel is one of them.

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Dear Amy: My late husband was a very admired Boy Scout leader. He was given many handmade gifts from his Scouts over the years.

He has been gone now for over two years and I am trying my best to go through his (many) things and decide what to keep and what to donate.

My adult children do not want these particular mementos made by others, and I’m not sure what to do with them.

Is it rude to offer them back to the person that made the gift?

– Worried Widow

Dear Worried: Not only is it not rude, but I think it is extremely generous and thoughtful to offer these handmade things back to the original creator.


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These are artifacts from another era, and if you are able to return these treasures to the people who made them, they can then make their own decisions about what to do with them.

Compose a short note, telling the recipient that your husband valued his Boy Scout experience and that he treasured the keepsake for decades – and now you hope that this handmade object will bring back good memories, in a new home.

Dear Amy: “Concerned Grandpa” was worried about his young grandsons’ weight. You suggested that he gently speak to his son about this.

A word of caution. I spoke to my (former) daughter-in-law about our grandson’s weight when he was young, and she – literally – never spoke to us again.

– Been There

Dear Been There: Weight is an extremely tender topic, and family members frequently want to express their concern.

I have never heard of this working out the way it was intended to.



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