The Pandemic Is Ending

COVID-19

It’s been nearly a year since draconian measures were taken to reign in the spread of the COVID-19 virus. As we all know, initially these measures were dubbed as “15 days to slow the spread” which may have been the worst messaging blunder in the history of public health in America. Nevertheless, we are nearly a year into this thing and many (including myself) are yearning to a return to pre-covid normalcy. Many are wondering when the Pandemic will end, and when these draconian measures will be lifted. I am quite certain on the first piece of that equation, that the pandemic is already ending. “Wait!” you’re probably wondering. You’re probably thinking that the doom and gloom you’ve seen on the media has convinced you that the pandemic will be never ending. That this will continue forever and ever. Wrong. America is already returning to normal, and it’s only a matter of time before the floodgates open. Why is the pandemic ending you ask? Just look at the data.

Free Fallin’

As one can see from the graph above, cases have plunged in the last two months. In fact, as of now, cases have fallen nearly 82% from their peak on January 8, 2021. Hospitlizations have also plunged of late, falling from their peak of 130,000 to around 50,000. Furthermore, the lagging indicator of deaths has also declined recently as well. All of these indicators have declined without widespread uptake from the vaccines. So, what’s causing this decline? The virus is simply running out of steam for one. Even though herd immunity may not have been achieved yet, it’s clear that some herding effects are taking place. It’s estimated by many experts that at least 35–40% of Americans have already been exposed to COVID-19. Therefore, the virus simply has less places to go as many have been exposed. Furthermore, a big piece that plays a role into this is seasonality. COVID-19, like most coronaviruses, is a seasonal pathogen. Therefore, it’s highly prevalent during the winter months and not so much during the summer. In fact, many states in the summer were too locked down in my view concerning how little COVID-19 was prevalent at the time. Due to the herding that’s taken place so far and the seasonality that’s occuring now, it’s very unlikely that we will see another very large surge like we did in the winter anytime soon. Even though agencies like the CDC have talked about the “variants” there’s actually little evidence that these variants are causing a major effect on the virus’s trajectory since cases are collapsing. It’s also important to note that there have been over 4,000 variants so far of this virus, and there are likely more we don’t know about because we aren’t sequencing very much. The “variant” talk in the media, while sort of informative, in my view is driven by too much fear and not a lot of facts considering that these variants have likely been around far earlier than we think. So, cases are free falling, hospitlizations are free falling, and deaths are beginning to decline. It’s good news. However, that’s just one piece.

Vaccines Surging

The Vaccination drive in the United States started very bumpy, however, it’s starting to pick up considerable speed. The CDC recently said that 10% of the Adult US Population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Furthermore, President Biden said just today that there will be enough vaccines for all Americans by the end of May. We should reach herd immunity with the vaccine and taking into account previous cases in late April as one recent writer at the Wall Street Journal noted. Furthermore, Pfizer is increasing vax deliveries to 14M a week by Mid-March. Moderna is increasing production to 40m doses a month by April. Johnson and Johnson is delivering 20M doses of their vaccine in March. Vaccines are surging now, and they will continue to surge as we head deeper into the spring. With the vaccine, herding, seasonality combined together, the virus will be at extremely low levels as we head into the late spring.

JNJ Vaccine

Reopening America

I urge all the states to lift all of their COVID restrictions by July 4. Why do I say this? By July 4, virus levels will be extremely low due to vaccination and virus levels will be quite low too. Also by that time, mortalities due to COVID will be VERY low as all at-risk Americans will be vaccinated by then. Many states are already relaxing their virus rules as I type this article out. Just today, Texas lifted all of their COVID restrictions. Mississippi relaxed all of their COVID restrictions. Michigan relaxed some of their virus restrictions today by allowing higher capacity in certain businesses. So, when will everyone return to normal? It’s hard to predict what governors and state leaders do these days, however, I predict that by Q3 2021 American life will be quite normal. Low virus levels and intense public pressure will force many restrictions to be lifted by then in my view. Also, we shouldn’t discount the heavy mental toll and economic toll that COVID related restrictions have. By the spring, it will be very very hard to justify continued restrictions on American life (restrictions that have lasted a year so far) when virus levels are low and widespread innoculations are taking place. In some people’s views, it’s hard to justify some restrictions now. In fact, many NFL teams have indicated that they’re planning on having full NFL stadiums in the fall. College teams like the University of Alabama have indicated that they plan to have full stadiums in the fall also. States are rushing to open up, and people want to desperately get back to normal. This creates a situation where we will have quite a normal summer.

University of Alabama Football Stadium

Open the Schools

Furthermore, it is clear that virus transmission in schools is far lower than in the general community. Especially considering that virus cases are declining, all the schools that aren’t open right now for in-person learning, should find ways that they can open up for in-person learning ASAP. As detailed by this Axios article, mental health care claim lines for children doubled in March and April of 2020 compared to 2019. Keeping kids out of school has proven damaging effects on their mental health and social well-being, and it’s also proven that in-person learning is safe if proper protocol is followed. The schools that are still closed, should find a way to open in some format AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. In person learning is essential.

Endemic

COVID is here to stay for the long haul. However, it will be in a form with drastically reduced mortality due to vaccines and therapeutics. It will simply circulate in an endemic fashion similar to many other coronaviruses. What does this mean? It will continue infecting a significant amount of people, however, it won’t be anywhere close to the damage it has wrought in the past year. We will simply just live with the virus, and life will go on. We will not live the way we are living forever. It’s not sustainable, and it’s not going to happen.

In Conclusion

The Pandemic is begining to recede across the country, and we are about to embark on a post-pandemic period. Full stadiums. Full concerts. Full restaurants (restaurants are already full in many states), are coming very soon. The American engine is getting ready to roar again.

-Nathan Clark

All the views expressed in this article are mine and mine only

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Nathan Clark

Nathan Clark

3 Followers

Political junkie. I am left leaning, and believe in electing Democrats up and down the ballot.