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COVID changed our lives overnight. Don't expect it to go away as quickly

“This really is good news, but it's good news that has to be tempered with some patience."

NEW ORLEANS — Life as we knew it changed overnight.

Where people once gathered, there was suddenly silence. Mask mandates quickly became the order of the day.

Now, there's a light at the end of the tunnel after dark days the last eight months.

The Times of London looked ahead Wednesday to who can get a COVID vaccine as the UK prepares to start distribution.

Closer to home, Louisiana could soon get its first doses.

But how soon will life return to normal once the vaccine is cleared here? The answer likely isn't what you want to hear.

"There will be a number of months over which it's going to be a process to deliver these vaccines, to ensure that people are actually utilizing the vaccines, that they're getting to where they need to go,” said Dr. Ben Springgate, LSU Health’s chief of community and population medicine.

Springgate said that even then, we'll have to keep doing what we've been doing for a little while now.

That means we won't necessarily see an immediate return of things like crowds or doing away with facemasks. Science will be a key indicator.

“The combination of uptake of the vaccine with the combination of people having previously been exposed will create greater certainty that people are going to be less likely to get severe illness,” Springgate said.

“This really is good news, but it's good news that has to be tempered with some patience,” said Dr. Jennifer Avegno, New Orleans’s health director.

She said patience will be needed everywhere, not just the New Orleans area.

A key reason: It's going to take a long time to get vaccines to people, even as the federal government works to make that happen as fast as possible.

“It's going to be a Herculean effort to vaccinate eight billion people worldwide against a new disease,” she said.

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