Americans will need to take pandemic precautions well into 2021 — yes, even after a vaccine arrives.
Anthony Fauci warned us last week that Covid-19 is likely to be hanging over our lives well into 2021. He’s right, of course. We need to accept this reality and take steps to meet it rather than deny his message.
Many Americans are resistant to this possibility. They’re hoping to restart postponed sports seasons, attend schools more easily, enjoy rescheduled vacations and participate in delayed parties and gatherings.
It is completely understandable that many are tiring of restrictions due to Covid-19. Unfortunately, their resolve is weakening right when we need it to harden. This could cost us dearly.
The unrealistic optimism stems in part from the fact that people have started pinning their hopes on a medical breakthrough. There have been promising developments. Remdesivir holds potential for those who are hospitalized. Convalescent plasma might do the same. Antibody treatments might improve outcomes for some or prevent infections in those at highest risk.
But most cases don’t benefit from these treatments. Further, none of these therapies can prevent infections or hospitalizations on a broad scale. The concern over an unflattened curve isn’t just about death, although that’s certainly a concern. It’s also about an overwhelmed health care system where so many beds are filled that we can’t get care for the many other conditions people experience. Untreated or undertreated heart attacks, strokes, cancer and more will also cause a spike in morbidity and mortality.
Americans are also overestimating what a vaccine might do. Many are focusing on whether approval is being rushed as a campaign ploy, but that’s almost beside the point. It seems likely that a vaccine will be approved this fall and that it will be “effective.” But it’s very unlikely that this vaccine will be a game changer.
Source: New York Times
Original publication 15 September, 2020
Posted on NatCorn 27th September 2020
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