- Dec 3, 2017
- Reaction score
- Political Leaning
A vaccine by early 2021, a steady decline in cases by next fall and back to normal in a few years – 11 top experts look into the future.
- A vaccine by early 2021, a steady decline in cases by next fall and back to normal in a few years – 11 top experts look into the future
This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Elizabeth Ralph on
on September 25, 2020.
The microscopic bundles of RNA, wrapped in spiky proteins, latch on to human cells, hijack them, use them as factories to replicate, and then leave them for dead. It is a biological blitzkrieg – an invasion so swift and unexpected that the germs are free to jump from host to host with little interference.
Fast forward to the future. Now, when the prickly enemies invade the lungs, they slip past the human cells, unable to take hold. They are marked for destruction, soon to be surrounded and eliminated. Though some escape through the airways, they confront the same defences in their next target – if, that is, they can get anywhere near the human cells. There are so few people left to infect that the germs have nowhere to replicate, nowhere to survive.
This is the end of the coronavirus pandemic. And this is how it could happen in the United States: by November 2021, most Americans have received two doses of a vaccine that, while not gloriously effective, fights the disease in more cases than not.
I think this projection is optimistic for a number of reasons. One, many will fail to obtain annual revaccination in order to maintain immunity. Two, there will inevitably be problems with vaccines, primarily due to side effects scaring off many people. Three, this virus has shown a slow but definite mutation rate & at least 6 strains are known. These may require the development of variant vaccines, complicating the vaccination programs.