We May Never Eliminate COVID-19. But We Can Learn to Live With It

When does a pandemic end? Is it when life regains a semblance of normality? Is it when the world reaches herd immunity, the benchmark at which enough people are immune to an infectious disease to stop its widespread circulation? Or is it when the disease is defeated, the last patient cured and the pathogen retired to the history books? The last scenario, in the case of COVID-19, is likely a ways off, if it ever arrives. The virus has infected more than 100 million people worldwide and killed more than 2 million. New viral variants even more contagious than those that started the pandemic are spreading across the world. And though highly effective vaccines were developed and deployed in record time, it will be a mammoth undertaking to inoculate enough of the world’s population to achieve herd immunity, especially with the new variants in hot pursuit. Already, in many countries with access to vaccines, logistical hurdles and vaccine hesitancy have proved to be formidable adversaries; meanwhile, many nations in the developing world don’t have access to vaccines at all. There have been, and will continue to be, global success stories. Israel has vaccinated a significant chunk of its population, enough to begin feasibly planning for a post-herd-immunity reality. New Zealand has effectively eliminated COVID-19 through a combination of domestic lockdowns and border-control measures, and Australia and multiple Asian countries have used similar tactics to dramatically tam...
Source: TIME: Health - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Uncategorized Cover Story COVID-19 feature Magazine Source Type: news

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