Nine reasons to believe the worst of the pandemic is over

By | February 24, 2021

Chas Danner writes:

There has recently been a lot of good news about the pandemic, notwithstanding the fact that it has now killed more than a half-million Americans.

The horrifying surge of coronavirus cases that began last fall has now abated. Two months after the first two COVID vaccines began going into American arms, studies continue to emphasize how remarkably effective they are. And after a haphazard start, the country’s mass-vaccination effort is continuing to ramp up. Suddenly, the latest wave of the pandemic is one of cautious optimism regarding the near future.

Last week at the Atlantic, James Hamblin went so far as to wonder whether or not the country might be able to reach a much happier normal by this summer:

[M]any aspects of pre-pandemic life will return even before summer is upon us. Because case numbers guide local policies, much of the country could soon have reason to lift many or even most restrictions on distancing, gathering, and masking. Pre-pandemic norms could return to schools, churches, and restaurants. Sports, theater, and cultural events could resume. People could travel and dance indoors and hug grandparents, their own or others’. In most of the U.S., the summer could feel … “normal.” … In short, the summer could feel revelatory. The dramatic change in the trajectory and tenor of the news could give a sense that the pandemic is over.

On Sunday, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb — who has been one of the pandemic’s most prescient commentators — said that he too was feeling optimistic about the coming months.

Below, a look at what’s driving this sunnier mind-set, and what serious concerns still linger. [Continue reading…]

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