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Continued from Part I…

 

Over time and largely in part to public health efforts, like mask wearing and vaccination, the pandemic could just disappear – like smallpox and Polio – or it might gradually become endemic. 

Host, environment, and virus factors all combine to explain why some viruses are endemic and others are epidemic.  When scientists look at COVID, they see that it is infecting humans with no prior immunity. 

When it comes to environment, the virus transmits better in cold, dry, crowded, confined areas with poor ventilation.  Each virus has its own characteristics, from speed of replication to drug resistance, that’s why we constantly hear of new strains of the COVID virus. 

Scientists say that a virus is more likely to endemic if they become adapted to a “local environment and/or have a continuous supply of susceptible hosts.” In the case of COVID, these would be hosts with zero or low immunity.

Most public health experts currently agree that COVID is here to stay rather than likely to disappear like smallpox, at least for a while. They expect the number of infections to become constant across years with possible seasonal trends and occasional smaller outbreaks.

Experts also agree that the most important thing we can do to help reach a safe level of endemic COVID is to get vaccinated and continue to adhere to COVID-safe practices. By doing this we protect ourselves, those around us, and move together towards an endemic phase of the virus.

For more than two years now, we have been living in a world shattered by a global pandemic. We have lived in a time of masks, isolation, shutdowns, quarantines, vaccines, disease, and unfortunately death.

But at what point do we shift from a pandemic to an endemic? How will we know when the pandemic is officially “over”?

In this two-part article, we hope to answer some of those questions and give you more of an insight into what happens next after these long, scary, confusing years.

First, we need to define a few key words that we have all heard in conversation over the past 2 years.

These words cover the lifecycle of a disease and include outbreak, epidemic, pandemic and endemic.

An outbreak is a “rise in disease cases over what is normally expected in a small and specific location generally over a short period of time. Foodborne diseases caused by salmonella contamination provide frequent examples of this.” 

Epidemics are “essentially outbreaks without tight geographical restrictions. The Ebola Virus that spread within three West African countries from 2014–2016 was an epidemic.” 

A pandemic is an “epidemic that spreads across many countries and many continents around the world. Examples include those caused by influenza A(H1N1) or “Spanish Flu” in 1918, HIV/AIDS, SARS CoV-1 and Zika Virus.” 

The "normal circulation of a virus in a specified location over time describes an endemic virus.” The word “endemic” comes from the Greek endēmos, which means “in population”. An endemic virus is relatively constant in a population with largely predictable patterns.

Even though summer is almost over, there is still time to get those fabulous abs.

 

This month we offer our Amazing Abs in August Challenge. Follow this 31-day workout to start building those abdominal muscles today! 

Day 1: 20 crunches

Day 2: 25 crunches

Day 3: 30 crunches plus a 30-second plank

Day 4: 35 crunches

Day 5: 40 crunches

Day 6: 45 crunches plus 2- 30-second planks

Day 7: 50 crunches

Day 8: 55 crunches

Day 9: 60 crunches plus 3- 30-second planks

Day 10: REST

Day 11: 65 crunches

Day 12: 70 crunches plus 2- 45-second planks

Day 13: 75 crunches

Day 14: 80 crunches

Day 15: 85 crunches plus 3- 45-second planks

Day 16: 90 crunches

Day 17: 95 crunches

Day 18: 100 crunches plus 1- 60-second plank

Day 19: REST

Day 20: 85 crunches

Day 21: 80 crunches plus 2- 60-second planks

Day 22: 75 crunches

Day 23: 70 crunches

Day 24: 65 crunches plus 3- 60-second planks

Day 25: 80 crunches

Day 26: 85 crunches

Day 27: 80 crunches plus 2- 60-second planks

Day 28: 85 crunches

Day 29: 90 crunches

Day 30: 95 crunches plus 5- 60-second planks

Day 31: 105 crunches

The summer months and grilling always seem to go hand-in-hand. Because this is a popular cooking method in the summertime, experts remind us that there are ways to grill safely and to avoid cookout germs.

 

  • When handling raw meat, make sure you separate it from other foods. Wash your hands immediately after handling raw meats.
  • Throw out marinades/sauces that may have come in contact with raw meats.
  • Clean your grill and check all tools before cooking with them.
  • Use a food thermometer and check the temperatures that each meat should be cooked until (can be found using a Google search)
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours of cooking.
  • Besides containing 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C, it also contains 15 percent of your daily value of vitamin A, 8 percent of your daily value of potassium, and 7 percent of your recommended dietary allowance of iron for women and 10 percent for men.
  • Lycopene, what gives tomatoes their red pigment, acts as an antioxidant, neutralizing free radicals that can damage cells in the body.
  • Studies show that men who at least eat 10 servings of tomatoes a week can reduce their risk of developing prostate cancer by a whopping 45 percent.

Recipe: Tomato Casserole with Sweet Onions

6 medium tomatoes, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

1 large Vidalia onion or other sweet onion

1 teaspoon fresh dill, or scant ½ teaspoon dried dillweed

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, or scant ½ teaspoon dried leaf thyme

Salt and pepper, to taste

2/3 cup fresh breadcrumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil 

Place peeled tomato wedges on paper towels to drain.  Peel onions and slice into ¼-inch rings.  In separate bowl combine dill, thyme, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs.  Layer half of the tomatoes and onions in a lightly buttered baking dish and top with half of the minced garlic.  Sprinkle with half of the bread crumb and seasoning mixture, half of mozzarella cheese, and drizzle with half olive oil.  Repeat layers.  Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes, or until bubbly.

Recipe: Corn and Black Bean Salsa

3 to 4 small ears of corn

1 can (15 to 16 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed thoroughly

1 large tomato, seeds removed, diced

1 large clove garlic, minced

¼ cup minced red onion

2 to 3 tablespoons finely minced jalapeno or poblano pepper

Juice of one lime, about 3 tablespoons

3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro

Dash salt and pepper, to taste 

Grill or broil corn to char slightly; let cool.

Combine remaining ingredients in a bowl.  Cut corn from cobs and add to the mixture.  Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving time. 

Great alternative to sauces, and is especially tasty on grilled fish, chicken or pork!