Covid-19, No End In Sight

Everyone is desperate to understand how the pandemic ends, what will be the silver bullet that saves us all. The answer is not that simple nor is it a comfortable easily digestible narrative. Everyone has a different definition of what an “end” looks like. As the virus changes and evolves, the answer will also change.

The first issue we must grapple with is time. Over time the I believe that the efficacy of all the Covid vaccines will wane with respect to protection from infection, transmission, illness, and even death. With the Biden Administration’s announcement of boosters for all Americans 8 months after their initial vaccination, it is clear that I am not alone in this opinion. Receiving booster shots to protect us from new variants is not unlike how we receive an influenza vaccine each year to protect us from new strains.

The second issue is virus evolution. Delta has changed the equation. Having observed the first increase in transmissibility by the B clade that appeared in Europe in February 2020 (not even dignified by a Greek letter) followed by Alpha, Delta, and a host of others, I think it highly likely that a variant more transmissible and deadly will appear that once again changes our calculus. Particularly, as the US once again reaches a daily caseload of over 250,000. Such an astronomical case number gives the virus ample opportunity to mutate as it moves from host to host. Such a variant may be either still more transmissible, more deadly, more capable of evading vaccines, and possibly all three.

Read the full article on Forbes 

Originally published on Forbes on August 17, 2021.  

© William A. Haseltine, PhD. All Rights Reserved.