Is It Time To Start Thinking About Living Again?
Have you started making plans yet?
This, I’d argue, is the fundamental question of this particular stage of the pandemic. Cases are down, dramatically, all across the country: We are seeing the lowest number of daily cases in the United States since before Halloween. Vaccine rollouts are stalled, but they’ve still improved dramatically, and there’s every reason to think the bottleneck is about to be cleared. Dr. Anthony Fauci and the Biden administration estimate “that most Americans will have access to a Covid-19 vaccine by mid- to late May or early June.” That’s a little slower than we might initially have liked, but then again, in the early days of the pandemic, most experts thought it could be two or three years before vaccines were available.
The New York Times reports that 12 percent of the country has already been vaccinated, and it provides a handy chart that shows where we’ll be if we continue vaccinating people at the current pace.
And there is every reason to think that graph is overly conservative: The Biden administration is pouring every resource into speeding up the vaccine rollout, which likely accelerates that timeline. To reach “herd immunity,” if such a thing is possible, experts claim 70–90 percent of people must have some sort of protection from the virus, either from a vaccine or antibodies from a previous infection. Considering most epidemiologists believe that as many as 20 percent of all Americans have already contracted Covid-19, and while we don’t know for sure how long you have antibodies after having the disease, it is looking increasingly likely that you should be protected for more than the initially estimated five months. You start doing a little bit of math, and all of a sudden, if the vaccine rollout fires up the way most expect it will, you’re awfully close to that 70 percent already.
This is not to say that Covid-19 is going to be eradicated forever: That’s likely going to take centuries. But I’m not sure you and I are going to make it that long. We have to live in the here…