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Not Just for Covid

We’ve all had to make adjustments of varied degree to our everyday life in compliance with initiatives designed to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. While vaccination provides real hope, governments and businesses are increasingly accepting what epidemiologists have warned: “The pathogen will circulate for years, or even decades, leaving society to coexist with Covid-19 much as it does with other endemic diseases like flu, measles, and HIV.” [1]

“Going through the five phases of grief, we need to come to the acceptance phase that our lives are not going to be the same,” said Thomas Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I don’t think the world has really absorbed the fact that these are long-term changes.”

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According to David Heymann, chair of the World Health Organization’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards, the Covid-19 virus appears to be on course to become endemic. While the term “endemic” sounds ominous, diseases are considered endemic when they remain persistently present but manageable, like tuberculosis and flu. Heymann and other experts say endemic Covid-19 doesn’t necessarily mean continuing coronavirus restrictions. This is largely because vaccines are so effective at preventing severe disease and greatly reducing hospitalizations and deaths. He says, “We have learned to live with all of these infections, we’ve learned how to do our own risk assessments.” [2]

Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s emergencies program, says he does not believe elimination or eradication of the [Covid-19] virus should be the measurement for success. “We have to reach a point where we’re in control of the virus, the virus is not in control of us.”

On that note, a number of organizations are planning for a long-term future in which prevention methods such as face coverings, proper ventilation and testing will continue in some form. So, what does that look like for your organization?

In February, a Viper employee experienced firsthand the value of body temperature screening. Jacob Chesnut, a technician for Viper, received a “Fail” response when testing a Viper V1, a system for elevated body temperature (EBT) detection. Surprised since he wasn’t experiencing any symptoms of illness, he initiated a second scan. After receiving a second “Fail” response, he took his temperature with a medical thermometer. This is adherence to protocol recommendations by the FDA guidelines for temperature screening. The thermometer confirmed what the V1 found, so he went to the doctor. He was tested for both Covid-19 and flu, and found he was positive for the flu. Several days of recovery and rest followed, then he was back at work. It’s because of this early detection that the flu was not spread among other Viper employees.

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In the Long Term

As stated, many organizations are implementing long-term preventive measures for stopping the spread of illness in their facilities. “This is not just in response to COVID-19, but for the long-term protection of the overall personnel health in facilities,” shares Andy Beck, Viper co-founder. He and the Viper sales team have had hundreds of conversations with customers over the past year and have found this to be a common theme. Early detection is key, and temperature screening has shown to be an effective means for this objective. Keeping the screening process simple and quick for those being checked – whether employees or visitors – helps maintain this important preventive measure.

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[1] Wall Street Journal 2/7/2021 By Daniela Hernandez and Drew Hinshaw  “As Covid-19 Vaccines Raise Hope, Cold Reality Dawns That Illness Is Likely Here to Stay”

[2] CNBC 2/12/2021 By Sam Meredith  “Doctors warn that Covid will become endemic and people need to learn to live with it”