Thursday, January 7, 2021

Pandemic: It's Future

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Health, Medicine, Science and Society

Ed Hessler

It is not possible to look ahead and say exactly what will happen with the current pandemic. While there will be twists, turns,and unexpected events, STAT writer Andrew Joseph takes a reasoned look ahead, considering five key key markers and their projected target dates.  
"If 2020 was defined," Joseph writes, "by the explosion of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, 2021 could be about its dwindling. But how many people will fall ill, and die, as that happens is dependent on our leaders, individuals, vaccine makers, and public campaigns to encourage people to get the Govid-19 shots developed with unprecedented speed." 

The dates which are reasonable based on what is known and informed by careful trackers of the pandemic such as Joseph are found below. The essay contains contains more details and explanations. I include a few notes.

--Jan. 20 — Inauguration of Joe Biden. He won't be able to snap his fingers and put the country on a new path immediately, but there could be a more forceful federal campaign to rally the country to slow transmission.,,, "Biden has been modeling the precautionary behavior experts say can put a drag on spread, and has urged Americans to wear masks. ... Restoring credibility and independence (of federal agencies charged with societal health issues) will take time...."

--Late January — 400,000 deaths It stands at 300,000 in mid-December but deaths are mounting by the thousands per day. This is going to be a period of great dissonance as more people are vaccinated and deaths keep increasing. This "shows how deep of a hole the country is in, and it will take months for enough people to get immunized to noticeably reduce the number" of new cases.

--End of June — Status update on vaccinations. Vaccines only work if people take them, enough people. We will know about whether the campaign to be vaccinated is being effective.

--July 23 — The Olympics begin in Japan. A global divide on the number of people who have been vaccinated could exist. "Counties (could) still be competing for vials, not just medals." There are many questions about the games themselves in terms of ensuring safety but the bigger issue is vaccine availability for the world.

--November and December — The holidays​. "But if all goes to plan, the holidays--at least in the U.S.--should be a time to celebrate making it through, and perhaps to consider all that was lost.Still, we won't be free of the ghost of Covid past. The effects...will be felt for years to come." There is much to be learned, e.g., long-term vaccination protection, effects, frequency of booster shots and whether there will be virus mutations that allow "it to evade the protection afforded by the vaccines."

​Let's hope that the light at the end of this already long pandemic tunnel shines brighter and brighter!​

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