Coronavirus Pandemic Could Be Contained in ‘Back Half of 2021’

December 9, 2020 Topic: Health Region: Americas Blog Brand: Coronavirus Tags: CoronavirusPandemicCOVIDSymptomsVaccine

Coronavirus Pandemic Could Be Contained in ‘Back Half of 2021’

On average, more than two hundred thousand Americans are testing positive for the coronavirus each day.

As more Americans get vaccinated in the spring and summer of next year, the United States could make great headway in fully containing the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci.

“I think we can get there towards the second half of 2021 if we implement the vaccine program properly and aggressively,” the nation’s top infectious disease expert said Tuesday at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council summit.

Fauci, who will remain in a similar position next year as an advisor to President-elect Joe Biden, added that he is hopeful that there should be enough vaccine doses for all Americans by late March or early April.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, however, warned that more needs to be done to tackle vaccine hesitancy and persuade the majority of the public to roll up their sleeves for a shot.

A recent survey carried out by the Pew Research Center found that only 60 percent of Americans are planning on getting inoculated—up from 51 percent in September. The national poll, conducted between November 18 and 29, revealed that 39 percent of respondents definitely or probably would not get a coronavirus vaccine.

However, about half in that group—roughly 18 percent of U.S. adults—admitted that it is possible that they would decide to get inoculated once others get vaccinated first and more information becomes available.

In order to achieve an “umbrella of herd immunity” in the country, Fauci contended that 75 percent or more of the population will need to be inoculated—though he doesn’t believe the virus will ever be eradicated

The herd immunity approach—similar to what was pursued in Sweden—aims to have enough people within a population become immune to a disease, often through vaccination or natural infection, to make its spread unlikely. As a result, the entire community is protected, even those who are not themselves immune, according to Harvard Medical School.

On Monday, Fauci asserted that the fast-approaching Christmas holiday season has the potential to dwarf the number of coronavirus infections and deaths related to Thanksgiving. He noted that the country hasn’t yet seen the full extent of new coronavirus cases related to the Thanksgiving holiday, as those numbers generally take between two and three weeks to emerge. 

Currently, on average, more than two hundred thousand Americans are testing positive for the coronavirus each day, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.  

In the latest projection from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, coronavirus cases in a “worst-case scenario” have the potential to peak in mid-January. The research institute has estimated that the number of new daily infections could reach more than one million “if states do not re-impose any social-distancing mandates.”  

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.  

Image: Reuters