On the first day of fall, STAT published its best guesses of 30 moments to come in the pandemic that could mark a change in its course or serve as a time to reflect on how Covid-19 had reshaped our lives.
In reality, some of the turning points have turned out better than they could have. Schools, particularly for younger children, seem to be safer than initially feared, although many students continue to be stuck with virtual classes. Separately, the vaccine regulatory reviews rebuffed potential political interference, with the candidates going through the process of obtaining emergency authorization with the regular rigor.
At the same time, the U.S. epidemic has grown even more dire. We knew the fall would be bad, but with new records of infections, hospitalizations, and deaths regularly being set, and many states not implementing intensive strategies in response (to say nothing about any sort of federal initiative to rein in transmission), the outlook continues to worsen. As an example, we had speculated the country would hit 250,000 deaths from Covid-19 in late November. Instead, the country crossed that mark in mid-November, a sign of how transmission accelerated.
Now, we’re taking another look ahead, to milestones in the next year that we’ll be watching to see if and how they redirect the pandemic and what they signal about the progress in the fight against the coronavirus. [Continue reading…]