Gov. John Bel Edwards says he's hopeful things will be closer to normal by the end of this summer - but it's possible COVID will be a part of our lives for a lot longer.
"I'm not sure there's going to be an end to COVID. Just like every year you get the flu shot, it is possible that you and I for the rest of our lives will be getting an annual booster for COVID as people are supposed to get for the flu," the governor said during a town hall hosted by our media partners at The Advocate this morning.
But, Edwards said, things should be much closer to normal "I believe between mid-late summer and Labor Day, when the vaccine will be available to the general population. I believe anybody who wants it by June or so should be able to go to their local pharmacy or their doctor's office to get the vaccine."
The governor said he believes we should be able to open school next fall in the usual way.
Edwards said he got his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine, and had zero side effects.
"I get my second shot next Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to getting my second shot and being fully vaccinated," he said.
Edwards said he has not had COVID; he said he wears masks almost all the time, and tries to maintain the six-foot distance with everyone. During the town hall, he wasn't wearing a mask, which he acknowledged, pointing out that he was six feet away from the host.
The winter storm and closures due to Mardi Gras have slowed vaccine delivery, but within the next two weeks or so Edwards said he feels providers should be able to catch up.
Regarding his order with restrictions across the state, he says the current one expires next week - and good news may be coming with the new version.
"We will make a decision on Monday of next week as to what we do. We're certainly doing better. When you look at positivity it's about 5 percent, which is a third of what it was about six weeks ago. We have about a third the number of people in the hospital as well," he said. "The cases appear to be leveling off now. One of our challenges is, with the weather and Mardi Gras, testing has fallen off considerably, but i understand with the data as it stands now, we will be making changes in the order. I won't make that announcement today, but i will tell you that we are not moving the goalposts. We're doing what the CDC and the White House Task Force are asking us to do."
Edwards said he's been criticized by not relaxing restrictions when the current order was issued, but he could not do that.
"To reduce the restrictions before Mardi Gras would have been absolutely irresponsible. Last year after Mardi Gras we had the steepest incline of infection of anywhere in the world," he said.
Here's the video: https://fb.watch/3TDQ3fDHyC/