Crystal Ball: COVID a year/two years from now after 40-50% of USA vaccinated

What do y’all realistically imagine our long and longer term future will be like with this virus? What will “widespread immunity” look like? Will we just come to accept COVID as a fact of life like colds, flu, allergies?

For purposes of this speculative flight of fance, let’s say by a year from now 40-50% of people in the USA have taken one of the vaccinations. Let’s assume that rolls out in a straightforward way (which it probably won’t) and discount for the purposes of this discussion allergic reactions, distribution problems, cost of vaccine, evolution of vaccines, new treatments, etc.

AIUI, no current vaccine will guarantee 100% immunity, although presumably if a vaccinated person gets COVID, the symptoms will be milder than an unvaccinated person and they’re not likely to die from it.

A year from now, what will life be like? Two years?

In a year, I think we will still be wearing masks most of the time. And we will still expect to be exposed to COVID out in the wild a lot, maybe on most days. Even though lots of people will have been vaccinated, there will still be millions who haven’t been and don’t plan to be.

What about two years from now when more people will have been vaccinated (but never more than about 70% IMHO)-- I think we will still be in the habit of wearing masks and assuming that our chances of being exposed to the virus is high. I think people will just expect to get COVID but the fear/apprehension level will be more like re the seasonal flu.

I think widespread mask usage is going to be part of our future going forward. Similar to the way the AIDS crisis of the late 80s and 90s moved condom usage from the optional into the mandatory column (as it were).

Accept, reject, agree, disagree, poke holes in my comments…

People from outside the USA feel free to join in re your country or mine.

You really think two years from now with a vaccine we’re going to be wearing masks? Maybe some but I think they’ll be considered nervous nellies.

Once the older age cohorts are immunized, this will not be a scary disease. It’ll be background noise to normal disease. In two years, a healthy amount of naturally acquired immunity will supplement vaccination immunity. People over 50 or so might have to require a booster shot as part of regular healthcare.

I think most people will stop wearing masks too soon, and way before a year from now. Maybe at crowded places like airports, but not for routine shopping, getting gas, or sitting in an office.

My guess is that by June or July of 2021 people will be acting pretty much as they did in June of 2019.

Once the high risk groups get immunized the mask are going to come off in like April/May of 2021 when the weather warms up. If one thing we learned though all of this is that American’s are stubborn and stupid. That and people are already burned out on mask usage. There will be a third wave, but most likely a smaller one than the first two and people who get sick and die that didn’t get immunized or wearing a mask will be thought of as deserving it. Sad but I think that is true.

Once all the high risk groups are immunized, what would a third wave even be?

I think everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to be vaccinated by June, 2021. Hopefully, you’ll have herd immunity by then (between people getting it and vaccines) and this virus will start going away. If that all goes according to (my optimistic) plan, then people will mostly stop wearing masks by the end of the summer, and life will continue on close to normal.

Yes, but the only way to catch COVID is from someone who’s infected. If enough people are vaccinated, even those who aren’t made immune by the vaccine will be relatively safe because there won’t be anyone around to catch it from.

Now, if I understand what I read this morning, we don’t really know whether the current vaccines that they’re now rolling out prevent people from spreading the infection to others. So that’s an important piece if the puzzle.

I think y’all are being very optimistic to think we’ll be out of masks and approaching normal by summer or even spring 2021. I hope you’re right!

There will still be plenty of people who will never get vaccinated and the virus will still be all around. So I guess you (plural) are counting on the mitigating factor of the vaccine for a vaccinated person who DOES get COVID?

I don’t give a rat’s ass who thinks I’m a Nervous Nellie-- 'cause I AM one! :slightly_smiling_face: Absolutely! At my age I don’t have to submit to peer pressure (not that I was ever one to …).

Interesting comments from all. Thanks!

What constitutes enough? There will still be MILLIONS who will never take a vaccine.

My prediction was based on what I think should happen.

“My guess is that by June or July of 2021 people will be acting pretty much as they did in June of 2019.”

I would agree. The vaccinations will be done by then, so the biggest danger is over, and the health authorities might simply decide to let Darwinism run its course and the anti-vaxxers can take their chances. Also, 'flu is always less of a problem in the summer, so it will probably be on a downward curve by then. I am hoping that it will not be a repeat of the Spanish 'flu, which lasted well over two years and got worse over time, but I think we could tame this one in the spring.

One issue with herd immunity is that there seems to be massive underreporting of COVID cases. A number of acquaintances have had it, but very few of them reported it. They were lucky and got the milder version with no complications.

Another issue is that COVID is becoming highly damaging to the economy, and at some point people will say that the cost outweighs the health risk and we have to get back to some sort of norrmality, albeit with some precautions. But in the last resort COVID is not Ebola. It remains to be seen whether it will mutate to a milder version and maybe become a seasonal nuisance.

This is my prediction as well, as soon as vaccine is available to the general population, masks will disappear almost immediately.

You so, if I recall correctly, are retired. So if you were to wear a mask but otherwise live a normal life, what % of your time would be masked?

For me, it would be all day during the week and at least half the day on weekends. I wear masks because I have to, but I hate them. If I am vaccinated and I have a 95% chance of being immune, a robust Healthcare system with no chance of being overwhelmed, and a very low chance of a serious case . . .that’s worth the tradeoff for me.


If its not safe to be at work without a mask, then IMHO it’s certainly not safe to be at a restaurant, bar, movie theater or anything like that, masked or not.

From an outsider’s point of view:

50% vaccination rate seems really optimistic, but for the sake of the argument I’m happy to roll with it. This is 50% actual rate, which I expect would be 75% on paper. I think it will peak to about 60% immunisation rate; after one year, it stops being covered by insurance and those few who still want it can’t afford it.

I expect some businesses will allow people to enter unmasked, but will require proof of vaccination, in the form of an issued card of some sort. A good number of people will have forged cards, fearing the vaccination.

Some of them will read Revelations into it (it, or the card, are the “mark of the beast”), and others will go full techno-nutbag with it, fearing it for orgone/nanomachine/global conspiracy reasons.

There will be at least one case where somebody with the immunization card will be assaulted by a group of those without it.

There will be groups of people holding out as “proud” resistors. I think you’ll find the politically redder the area, the more likely this will be. And I think you’ll still find a lot of pockets of COVID-19 infection in those areas. I also think that some small percentage of Resistors will see or know of somebody who suffered from the disease and change their minds. I want to emphasize “small percentage”. Most of those who get sick don’t have severe symptoms, and some will choose an interpretation based on “alternate facts”.

Urban areas will start to be a bit more comfortable with masks. Eventually it’ll become part of the urban etiquette, where it would be rude to go out without a mask if you had a sniffle, but some appreciable proportion still won’t.

I am also going to predict that at least one hospital will scrap their surplus ventilators after the wave of vaccinations, only to be overwhelmed by a sudden onslaught of cases needing them. They’ll get a bunch of bad press, and the CEO of the hospital, who’d ordered the scrapping for cost-cutting reasons, will find a scapegoat to blame.

I would imagine a good bit of herd immunity will be kicking in by the end of February even with no vaccines. It would seem that about 40% of the people are spreading 90% of the disease and most of these people will have been infected by spring. The vaccine could save a couple of hundred thousand lives but either way the virus will be slowing down soon enough.

I’m very much hoping that, in saner areas, wearing masks remains acceptable, like it has in East Asian countries after SARS. I’m hoping that, even when COVID-19 isn’t really the concern, it will be acceptable to wear a mask if you are sick, to avoid spreading to others. Businesses will have seen how good masks can be and might even require workers who come in sick to wear them, like they did at hospitals even before COVID-19.

The actual OP, I’m not really ready to comment on. I don’t really know how good 50% uptake really is, and I have trouble factoring in the hatred towards masks and people willing to kill others to avoid them, because it’s so irrational and immoral. Many, many people are worse than I ever imagined they would be l.

Having been infected before means little, since natural immunity only lasts months as most. And it’s the ones who get severely sick who get the strongest, longest lasting immunity.

One thought I’ve had in the schadenfreude part of my brain is that Trump could wind up infected again.

No, in most people (with rare exceptions), it lasts for months at least. We don’t know about the “at most” because there hasn’t been time to observe that, but it could be quite a lot longer.

This is not accurate. Studies have shown reinfections to be nearly non-existent and immunity lasting 6+ months after natural infection. I don’t want to hijack this thread, but it’s been discussed numerous places on this board.

See this thread posts 34-39 for a brief exchange with citations. Here is an analysis of likely situations surrounding the rare events of reinfection. Here is a link to a study suggesting immunity at 6+ months.