"There is no question vaccines are important and effective in combating COVID. But if vaccines are less effective in preventing illness and transmission with the Delta variant, it raises real questions about how the pandemic will end.
Initially, scientists were talking about reaching herd immunity – the level of population protection at which the virus could no longer spread. Now, the conversation among experts suggests COVID may become endemic – a virus that circulates perennially, which society will have to learn to manage. Using vaccination – one-time or through boosters — to ensure that the virus takes a mild or moderate toll rather than a serious one is likely to be part of that. Natural immunity from infection could play a role. So could more effective treatment. Testing and limited quarantining could be another part. There could be other societal changes, like seasonal masking or improved indoor ventilation.
Harvard public health professor Yonatan Grad argues that past pandemics “have led to massive changes in the way we live that we’ve come to accept as normal.” COVID may do the same."
|Army Spc. Angel Laureano holds a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Md., Dec. 14, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)|
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