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From Variants To Vaccines: The Future Of COVID-19

People are seen social distancing in Brooklyn. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
People are seen social distancing in Brooklyn. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)

Vaccine distribution, across the U.S. and the globe, is ramping up. But new variant cases are rising in the United States, waits for the vaccine are long, and most of us just want to know — how will this pandemic end?


Tara C. Smith, Ph.D., professor of epidemiology at Kent State University. (@aetiology)

Angela Rasmussen, Ph.D., associate research scientist at the Center for Infection and Immunity at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. (@angie_rasmussen)

Ananya Banerjee, professor at McGill University’s School of Population & Global Health and the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Founder of the South Asian Health Research Hub. (@ananya_tb)

From The Reading List

New York Times: “Does the Vaccine Stop Transmission?” — “The purpose of the Covid-19 vaccines is to prevent death and serious health complications that strain our overburdened health care system.”

CNN: “As 500,000th Covid death looms, US reaches pivotal moment” — “The United States will within hours record its unfathomable 500,000th death from Covid-19 paradoxically at a moment of rare hope in the pandemic. Yet the tragic landmark will occur with the White House loath to predict when the crisis may ease as it balances critical political and epidemiological risks.”

Nature: “The coronavirus is here to stay — here’s what that means” — “A Nature survey shows many scientists expect the virus that causes COVID-19 to become endemic, but it could pose less danger over time.”

The Atlantic: “What If We Never Reach Herd Immunity?” — “Let’s begin by defining our terms. Herd immunity is the hazy, long-promised end of the pandemic, but its requirements are quite specific. Jennie Lavine, a biologist at Emory University, likens it to wet logs in a campfire.”

Wall Street Journal: “As Covid-19 Vaccines Raise Hope, Cold Reality Dawns That Illness Is Likely Here to Stay” — “Vaccination drives hold out the promise of curbing Covid-19, but governments and businesses are increasingly accepting what epidemiologists have long warned: The pathogen will circulate for years, or even decades, leaving society to coexist with Covid-19 much as it does with other endemic diseases like flu, measles, and HIV.”

The Atlantic: “A Quite Possibly Wonderful Summer” — “The summer of 2021 is shaping up to be historic. After months of soaring deaths and infections, COVID-19 cases across the United States are declining even more sharply than experts anticipated.”

The Guardian: “WHO warns Covid-19 pandemic is ‘not necessarily the big one’” — “World Health Organization experts have warned that even though the coronavirus pandemic has been very severe, it is ‘not necessarily the big one,’ and that the world will have to learn to live with Covid-19.”

STAT News: “The myth of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Covid vaccines: Why false perceptions overlook facts, and could breed resentment” — “Mike Ryan, the World Health Organization’s health emergencies director, had a conversation recently with his mother, the kind that lots of public health people are having these days, much to their dismay. Ryan’s mother was concerned about one of the Covid-19 vaccines in use in Ireland, where she lives. The one made by AstraZeneca.”

New York Times: “The Future of the Coronavirus? An Annoying Childhood Infection” — “As millions are inoculated against the coronavirus, and the pandemic’s end finally seems to glimmer into view, scientists are envisioning what a post-vaccine world might look like — and what they see is comforting.”

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.