Time to return to normal? A California doctor says yes because COVID is here to stay

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A California doctor says he believes a number of our day-to-day activities should be returning to a level of normalcy because COVID-19 is here to stay.

Dr. Robert Wachter, chairman of the medicine department at University of California San Francisco, told The New York Times that he has decided to go back to playing poker with vaccinated friends and taking planes to visit relatives.

He said he's prepared to accept the additional risk in the same way you accept risk when driving in a car.

"I definitely feel more comfortable now especially knowing that more people are getting vaccinated," said Jessi Beuttel, who just moved to Durham from the Atlanta area last week. "Where I don't know other people's situation, I'd probably still wear a mask just for my safety and theirs."

Dr. David Weber, an infectious diseases specialist at UNC Health, said people should feel good about doing Thanksgiving next week if you're vaccinated.

He said you should also feel good about resuming life, especially if you've gotten a shot and you're wearing masks in the right places.

"There's no question many of us have pandemic fatigue," said Weber. "We'd like to go back to 2018 and hope this was a time warp and the pandemic never happened, but it did. COVID is here, it will be endemic and it continues to take a horrendous toll."

Weber said we have the tools to dramatically reduce the spread of the virus in the same way vaccines helped defeat polio and rubella.

Carl Waden is still not ready to completely go back to normal.

"Although I'm not as apprehensive as I used to be, I think we all still need to be careful," said Waden, who is a teacher in Wake County. "The pandemic is not over but I do think there are the protocols in place that will help us stay safe."
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