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Mutations, Variants, and the Euphoria to Come
Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP --  The Herman Group Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP -- The Herman Group
Austin, TX
Thursday, March 25, 2021


The Herman Trend Alert

March 24, 2021

Mutations, Variants, and the Euphoria to Come

Though I am personally somewhat bored covering the COVID-19 Pandemic and we are all more than ready for it to be over, unfortunately it is not---not in the US, not in Europe, and not in the rest of the world. So being your futurist friend to demystify all the statistics and data, I feel compelled to once more, take a look at what is happening now and the possible trajectories for the infection moving forward.

Cases in the US on a Plateau

Though the US as a whole is seeing the number of cases plateauing or even decreasing slightly, in 21 of the states the cases are climbing again. . . but not Texas.

Why I Think Texas Has Been Spared So Far

As I see it, there are two major factors contributing to the decline of cases in Texas: 1) Due to warm weather---more people are congregating outdoors; many of the restaurants that are opening are doing so with outdoor seating; and 2) Businesses are ignoring Governor Abbott's lifting of the mask mandate, especially in my hometown of Austin, Texas where the city's mask mandate remains in effect. All that said, it may not be long before the variants catch up in Texas, too.

Cases Surging in Europe, Too

While cases are surging in Europe, notably in Italy, France, and Poland. Like the US, the European countries are looking forward to opening up. Germany is taking steps to begin to ease restrictions. Yet many there are still skeptical that they can open safely.

Why COVID Cases are Surging

The more infection there is in an area, the more chance there is for mutation. (You may remember a year ago, I wrote about mutations of influenza, and how it is quite common.) A mutation is the virus' attempt to survive against the medical weapons directed at it. There are thousands of COVID mutations; most are harmless. But sometimes, those mutations merge, and they turn out to be effective in keeping the virus alive. That combination of mutations becomes what we call a "variant." Sadly, most of the variants we have seen are more transmissible---that means they are spread more easily. It is those variants that are wreaking havoc in some parts of the US, Europe, Brazil, South Africa, and Australia. While the variants rage in Brazil, South Africa, and the United Kingdom, the US has fostered variants of its own.

Worries over new US COVID Variants

In fact, there are two homegrown, highly contagious variants of the coronavirus that are rapidly spreading in California and the New York City metro area. This California variant has raised fears among scientists that the strains could cause a nationwide spike in infections and deaths. This variant also seems to be more resistant to antibodies generated by a COVID-19 vaccine or prior infection.

What Will Stop the Spread?

Simply put, when enough of us are vaccinated with a vaccine that is effective against all of the various iterations of SARS-CoV-2, then we will have established herd immunity. Once there is herd immunity, in other words, enough of us are vaccinated to stop the spread, we can return in-person business meetings, revenge spending, going to concerts and sporting events, and to working together in person. Those of us who have chosen not to be vaccinated will remain vulnerable.

What We May Expect

Once we have really contained this virus and we have so few cases that we can test and contact trace effectively, we will be in a position to heave a collective sigh of relief---at least temporarily. At that point, we will see the returns to the local bistros, the skies, and our local retail stores. And perhaps also, for some of us, our offices? At that point, we will be so happy to go to in-person meetings, we will wonder that we ever dreaded them as we all did. There will be a euphoria about working together (in person) that we have never seen before. This feeling of relief will last for some weeks or even months---unless and until a new, more contagious variant shows up.

We Are Not There Yet!

Unfortunately, though I hate wearing a mask as much as anyone else, we are still seeing cases spreading. In spite of the fact that I have had both of my shots, I am still in the minority. So dear Friends, we must still wear our masks, stay physically distant, wash our hands---I use the app on my Apple iWatch, and otherwise take precautions. While the vaccines will keep us out of the hospital and the funeral parlor, they are not guaranteed to keep us from getting sick---or spreading the disease. Please keep yourself and your loved ones safe----however you need to do that---and know that there is light at the end of this tunnel.

And finally, in the words of my friend, the great Barnett Helzberg, Jr., (the guy who sold Helzberg Diamonds to Warren Buffet) remember, "You are loved."

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: Women Reentering Workforce Vital to Recovery

Using research from the well-respected financial institution PIMCO, we will look at what happened to women in the workforce during the Pandemic and what steps employers must take to ensure that they support their women employees and candidates, as we emerge from our year plus of lock-down and isolation.


News Media Interview Contact
Name: Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP
Title: Certified Speaking Professional and Management Consultant
Group: The Herman Group
Dateline: Austin, TX United States
Direct Phone: 336-210-3548
Main Phone: 800-227-3566
Cell Phone: 336-210-3548
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