How does the pandemic end?

I mean, what will that look like? How will the coming year 2021 and beyond play out?

We’ve got a couple of very promising vaccines. But we also have 350m US and 7.8 billion worldwide to vaccinate. I know we don’t have to vaccinate everyone, just enough to starve the virus of its “food supply” so it can’t spread.

So at what point will we begin to feel safe again? Some regions will become safer faster than others even in a single country, right? At some point will this be over over? Or will we be stamping this thing out for years or even decades?

Will there ever be some sort of sense of the time when we can all just go outside and party in the streets in relief that the scourge is over?

Not with a bang, but with a whimper. I don’t see there being a clearly defined endpoint.

I agree with @Folly that it will be somewhat drawn out, but I’m pretty sure that those of us who are currently on a hard lockdown will start feeling a bit more comfortable being around more than a handful of people sometime in Q2 or Q3 of next year, if the vaccination efforts move forward as quickly as they are currently. We don’t know what the R0 is with no restrictions, so hard to say what level of immunity is required to reach the point where it is mostly eliminated, with occasional flare-ups in pockets where the non-vaccinated are numerous. If we assume that it is as low as 3, then we still need 67% percent of the population to achieve immunity, either naturally or through a vaccine, but that just gets us to a value right below 1, which still drags this out quite a bit. If we get to 90% immune, I think it will turn into a non-issue quickly (a matter of a few months), aside from the aforementioned flare-ups.

Well, as I understand it, this will be the first time we’ve ever ended a viral pandemic. The 1918-19 pandemic just went away and nobody knew why. I’d think there’s surprises to be had as we succeed or stumble in snuffing this out. And vast, vast surprises in how well or poorly individuals, countries or regions do the snuffing.

Are there any informed guesses on how this coming year is going to go, even given a successful and safe vaccine?

And, hell, I’d like to get some notion of when I could see my friends overseas again. :frowning:

What you need to know about the Moderna and Pfizer coronavirus vaccines
Washington Post link, but it’s not supposed to be paywalled.
@squeegee, here’s the money shot:

The exact criteria for who will be first in line will be defined immediately after a vaccine is authorized, but the general principles have been discussed for months. You may qualify for earlier access because of your job: Health-care workers and first responders are likely to be among those prioritized. People who have essential jobs, such as teachers and food workers; those who are at higher risk because of their age; and those who have underlying conditions that increase their risk for severe disease are also likely to receive earlier access.
Healthy younger adults who don’t have medical conditions or high-risk jobs are likely to begin to get vaccinated starting in April, but not everyone will be able to get the shots immediately. And children aren’t even included in most coronavirus vaccine trials — Pfizer is the first company to expand its trial to people 12 and older — so they probably will be among the last to get access.
I would say starting in April, May, June, July — as we get into the late spring and early summer — that people in the so-called general population, who do not have underlying conditions or other designations that would make them priority, could get” shots, said Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Bolding mine.

We did pretty well with polio and smallpox. Of course, there were a lot more anti-vax people back then.

I’ve been calling 06/2021 since about 04/2020. As my age puts me closer to the front of the line, I personally won’t feel safe until I get blood work showing anti-bodies. Arizona’s general population, including my idiot husband are anti-vax.

Arrgh! A lot less Anti-vax back then.

From what’s been said in the UK, it sounds like health care workers and anyone deemed to be frontline staff are first in the queue for the vaccine, followed very closely by people living in care homes. After that, it works through the population in 5-year increments by age. Top of that list is the over-80s, followed by those in the 75-80 age group and so on, down to the young 'uns where there still seems to be discussion about whether or not they need to be vaccinated or not.

I’m also not sure how it’s affected by the covidiots and anti-vaxxers, and those who are suspicious of a vaccine that hasn’t taken a decade to develop. Will they be forced to have the vaccine, or left to take their chances? Who knows?

I suspect that the rush to vaccinate the world’s population will see the virus dying off but just like colds and flu, there will probably be some of it around somewhere forever but there might be an annual jab like the flu shot that we can get if we want/need to.

I have a feeling that once we get hospital and long term care staff vaccinated, we’ll very rapidly get back to normal. So if one of these is ready for them by end December we’ll probably be “feeling safe” before the more general roll out. Hopefully teachers will be prioritized also.

I agree lots of people who’re already on the denialist/ minimizer-ist side of the whole COVID thing will quickly (like right after Christmas) “feel safe” and start running about heedlessly in public even more than they are today.

But IMO they won’t be safe for 12-36 months from when the vaccine starts being given to the general public. Which, ref Fauci above, is hoped to be 2Q of 2021. That’s 6-9 months from now before we hope to get the very first dose into any Joe/Jane Q Public.

So IMO it’ll be somewhere around 2Q2022 to 2Q2024 depending on how the rest of the world does and on how international travel opens up.

That’s when we actually factually will have enough immune people at large that a) you (the generic “you”) almost certainly won’t be exposed to it, and b) if you do catch it, you won’t encounter enough still-vulnerable people to spread it very far before your “downline” of a few more infections peters out.

And frankly, if most of the population of e.g. North Dakota decides to not get vaccinated, we’ll never be rid of this stuff. Far worse if it’s more like most of e.g. greater Dallas decides not to vaccinate. They’ll be an unending reservoir that is well-connected by road & plane to the rest of the USA.

I don’t know. If we get healthcare workers done and a good bulk of people over 60, we’re mostly good to go. This isn’t a particularly bad disease if it was confined to the under 55 crowd.

This isn’t my understanding. Can you provide a cite for this claim?

That’s leaving aside, of course, the fact that if people under 55 remain unvaccinated for the longish term, they will start turning into people over 55. Plus, none of the vaccines are 100% effective anyway, so older people would still be getting sick.

Anyway, as to the OP, I’m hoping for November, 2021. I don’t think it will be much earlier than that, but I’d love to be proven wrong.

Uhh, what is your understanding? It was quoted recently in a topic around here that under 50 it’s an IFR of close to zero. I’ll see if I can find it.


Thanks! I didn’t realize that mortality rates dropped so dramatically.

ETA: Are there estimates of mortality rates for people with and without comorbidities? I know this is a slight hijack, but if you happen to have that handy, I’d appreciate it.

I don’t blame you. There was so much push back early on with “it’s not just an old person disease!” and yeah, it’s not completely. But mostly, it is.

eta: I’ll poke around but the rates for say under 20 are so low, I can’t imagine comorbidities are a huge factor there unless they are serious. Like cancer serious, not diabetes or obesity.

Setting aside the under-55 aspect which you two are hashing out already I’ll speak to this snip.

I agree that getting most over 60s (including me!) vaccinated will be huge in terms of reducing the death rate. But if we start with them along about 2Q21, when will we be finished with them? 6 months? It takes a long time to vaccinate WAG 60 million people.

It’ll take some strategizing for sure. If we get LTC workers vaccinated and keep some strict visitor rules, those elderly in homes can be lower down the priority list from the 60+ people still out and about.

I found this BBC article on plans for worldwide vaccine distribution. Does not apply to the US, but certainly affects my plans to visit friends overseas.

Huh. That’s good, global thinking for a global problem. I wonder if Biden will opt in. There’ll be a lot of political pressure for him to just grab as much vaccine for America as he can.