The virus is winning. That much is certain more than six months into a shape-shifting pandemic that’s killed more than 454,000 people worldwide, is gaining ground globally and has disrupted lives from Wuhan to Sao Paulo.
While promising, fast-moving vaccine projects are underway in China, Europe and the U.S., only the most optimistic expect an effective shot to be ready for global distribution this year.
If, as most experts believe, an effective vaccine won’t be ready until well into 2021, we’ll all be co-existing with the coronavirus for the next year or longer without a magic bullet. And this next phase of the
In their view, success isn’t defined as returning to life as it was in 2019. Rather, it’s about buying time and summoning the staying power and policy flexibility to limit the destructive capacity of an expanding pandemic, which may result in global deaths of more than one million according to one estimate, until there are medical tools to effectively treat and immunize against the virus. “People
Complicating matters, the perceived threat varies from neighborhood to neighborhood, let alone country to country. Much depends on the severity of local outbreaks and the effectiveness of testing, contact tracing, social distancing, hospital systems and public-health messaging that is free of political shading. Leaders such as U.S. President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson or B
Not all the news is grim. In the first half of the year, governments worldwide resorted to emergency measures like forced business closures, stay-at-home rules and bans on large gatherings. The moves slowed infection, saved lives and gave leaders time to stockpile medical equipment and supplies. Yet that progress came at the cost of economic contraction, soaring unemployment and trillions of doll
Instead, the biggest economies seem intent on reopening, even if the pace varies. That, in turn, means more social mobility and more opportunities for the virus to spread. Already, scientists who track virus trends are seeing signs that re-opening is leading to a spike in cases. “I understand there is a perception of the need to balance on these economic considerations,” said Ada Adimora, an epidemic.