For the past year, people have pinned their hopes on vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Each month since June, USA TODAY has asked a panel of more than a dozen experts in medicine, virology, immunology and logistics to estimate on an imagined clock when a COVID-19 vaccine would be available to most Americans. This month, with three authorized vaccines and seemingly enough supply coming, they say it’s only 45 minutes from high noon, when shots will be widely accessible. The momentum follows a sputtering start to the vaccine rollout that stalled the clock at the start of the year. February’s time was 10:45 a.m. But the closer we get to the long-awaited goal, the less it seems as if it will mark the end of the pandemic that has disrupted lives and loves for a full year. So we asked our panelists: When can we declare victory? Their definitions of an endpoint differed, from a level of outbreak no worse than the flu to no new cases at all. To Pamela Bjorkman it’s the smallpox scenario – a wiping out of the virus. A structural biologist at the California Institute of Technology, she sees victory as coming when everyone in the world is vaccinated and there are no more cases. Others see it more as bringing COVID-19 in line with other diseases humans have learned to coexist with.“There are more than 30,000 deaths a year of influenza in the United States, so bringing COVID-19 mortality down to less than 100 deaths a day would be equivalent to rendering it similar to influenza-related mortality,” she said. We’re nowhere near that. About 1,900 Americans a day are dying from COVID-19. It may not be possible to say things have really shifted until next winter, when COVID-19, and all coronaviruses, tend to peak.“We can declare victory over this pandemic in the U. S. if the virus causes only a negligible bump in cases next winter,” said Dr. Paul Offit, a pediatrician and head of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.“I see herd immunity happening at some point between Memorial Day and the Fourth of July,” Pitts said. “All the more reason to come together as a nation, and roll up our sleeves so we can celebrate with barbecues and fireworks.”Reaching herd immunity will require kids to be vaccinated, too, noted Vivian Riefberg, professor of practice at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia. At this point, with studies still underway, adolescents might be eligible for vaccination sometime in the spring or early summer, and younger children this fall or even later.“There will be small fires in the form of sporadic cases of COVID-19 even after administering the vaccine to the majority of the population, but it will be easier to put out such fires,” he said. There’s also the ravaging of the economy to keep in mind, notes Arti Rai, a health law expert at Duke University Law School.“One very important indication will be data on job growth,” she said.
All data is taken from the source: http://usatoday.com
Article Link: https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/health/2021/03/11/vaccine-panel-experts-disagree-what-end-pandemic-means/4631291001/
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