No vaccine in 2021. How does life look then?

As I navigate the new board, I found myself thinking about a discussion on Reddit regarding the NFL. A user there said that if there’s no vaccine by the 2021 season, the league would “have” to cancel that season as well, which got me thinking about similar assumptions, like the Australian politician who said that their state would be closed until a vaccine is found.

Suppose there is no vaccine for the foreseeable future. When and how will businesses in general reopen? When will large scale events start both happening and attracting large crowds again? When will sports leagues decide they’ll take the risk of lawsuits from infected players? What will travel restrictions look like? Will Americans be locked out of other countries for a year or more (and might that cause big business to put pressure on government?)?

Basically, I’ve seen claims and assumptions that coronavirus related restrictions could continue into next calendar year and beyond, and I wanted to discuss that.

It’s gonna look a lot like now. Except that we’ll all be a bit more tired of it. I’m no economist but if a lot fewer people are making product and a lot fewer people are moving it around, product is rare and precious and scarce. Looks like most other countries (not Brazil) will bounce back better than we do, we having done such a spectacular job of faceplanting on this. Anyway, yes, I would not be at all surprised if we’re still doing social distancing and wearing masks by this time next year. Or we could be luckier. Lots of unknowns.

I think it’s going to depend a great deal on whether we here in the USA get a handle on controlling the spread. If things are as they are now, then very bad for us in every way. The economy will struggle. Unemployment will remain high. Crime rates will correspondingly increase. Many more people will die. Any activity requiring contact and/or prolonged exposure to high risk environments will become even unpopular than it already is.

Using the EU for comparison, they’re cautiously opening up. They and other countries that are successfully controlling their spread are likely to prevent Americans from traveling to their countries. At the least, they will require a strict quarantine period. Can’t blame 'em.

I think the best we can hope for in the short term are some advances in treatments that may ameliorate the worst effects as we await a vaccine, much like HIV. Even if a vaccine is developed, there is no guarantee it will protect us for long.

On the brighter side, we’re learning more about this thing every day. As I mentioned in another COVID-19 thread, blood type seems to have some bearing on how severely one may react to catching it. I’ve read also that limited exposure may enable a person to fend it off more successfully. We may find that a weak live virus vaccine gives us some immunity.

In the short term as pointed out by @AHunter3, I suspect wearing masks as a regular part of our routines is soon going to become a whole lot more popular.

At some point masks, with minimum requirements, will be as common as wearing shoes. And it will be enforced. We just have to stop trading germs and this will end.

However, there are are far too many people who have a “me first” mentality to make this work. It seems that “for the greater good” is not enough of a reason for wearing a mask.

Nobody’s going to take a vaccine that gets approved while Trump is president.

His supporters won’t take it. All they care about is not having to wear a mask. They will say that since there is a vaccine available, there’s no need to require masks anymore.

Nobody else will take it because they figure the approval process was rigged and it’s ineffective, dangerous, whatever.

If there’s a “Warp Speed” vaccine, let’s see if healthcare workers take it.

Seems we need a new sign.

No Shirt,
No Shoes,
No Mask,
No Service

Reality is that no one really knows how the disease will behave going forward or how different societal actions will or will not impact its course.

Businesses in general are re-opening. And shutting back down is hard enough in cultures less … individualistic … than the United States tends to be.

The future until/if a safe, effective, widely available vaccine is out and widely used will be infections occurring at rates determined by a wide variety of factors including local habits, demographics, and a host of things not yet understood, impacted by different actions that are still to be evaluated for relative efficacy compared to relative cost, and by how many susceptible individuals there are (and to what degree).

In any case proceeding as many seem to be proceeding, as if a vaccine saving the day is a certainty and something that will occur soon, is foolish. And I personally doubt that contact tracing is going to be very effective either. (So far not in New York.) So thinking about how to proceed into that vaccineless unknown, knowing that the worse case is a big surge timed with influenza season, with the most vulnerable as unprotected as they have been to date, and knowing reality of America, is pretty important.

Speak for yourself. I would sure as heck take a vaccine that gets approved while Trump is president. It’s not like he personally will be involved with any vaccine development. From what I understand, the current front-runner in the vaccine race is being developed in the UK, and will likely be approved there and elsewhere around the same time as it is in the US, assuming everything works out.

But, since the premise of the OP is that it doesn’t: I think things sort of drift back to normal. Doctors will slowly get better at treating this disease (they already are); people will slowly adjust their perception and tolerance of risks (they already are); and if we’re lucky we might get a reliable, rapid-response spit test or something, which would allow a lot of places and events to open up.**

If there is no vaccine and the virus doesn’t mutate into a strain that affects younger people to the point of a higher probability of death we most likely will just accept it as another way older people die and concentrate on preventative measures for older people. By this time next year we should at least have a handle on how to better treat people at high risk who contract the disease and better ways to test and track the diesease.

Also, work from home will become much more common and enhanced delivery services will be here to stay.

Excellent question.

More telecommuting, less in person group meetings - zoom or whichever platform their company prefers. I foresee tele-medicine sticking, my primary, surgeon and I love it for the discussion of testing type appointments, and in a pinch we could all have a group zoom meeting with oncology and radiation oncology without having to converge on one office.

Vacationing will have to make a shift - Cruises/all inclusive resorts/spiffy location group tours are going to be an issue with the need for social distancing and constant sanitation requirements, All it will take is a few covidiots [love love love that term] to cough their way through the Pacific Princess [does she still exist? I know the one from TV hit the breakers about 15 years ago. We could have bought her for $350K and had a floating Dopefest permanently] and making it a plague ship.

Medical will have to make a shift - the isolation is stressful for family of the ill. When one is stuck in bed, the visits from family and friends give you something to think about other than your treatment/rehab. If you are critical or even terminal, that last visit to say good bye, or potential last visit is very important emotionally. I look on mrAru for a lot of aid, both physically and emotionally - he went to almost all of my infusion and radiation appointments, he went to my regular appointments so in my chemo fogged brain I didn’t forget details. Some of the days he was my wheelchair jockey [hell, most of my days] I absolutely hate his not being with me at my appointments.

And we really do need to enforce masking and sanitation - I am immunocompromised, and since it is back I am going to start the whole chemo thing again, so it is going to be another 18 months of trying to stay well [ish, when the drugs have you horking up everything you have eaten for the last month while simultaneously shoving it out your nethers, well is a relative term.] I don’t want to have to quarantine myself permanently other than medical appointments,

The real issue is that Trump and the far-right have made this into a culture war/personal identity issue, and then grafted that, Island of Dr. Moreau-style onto personal freedom.

So while most of us sane people realize that mask wearing is a way to both lessen the chance that we catch the virus, as well as a way to lessen any inadvertent unknown transmission of the virus, the Trumpers have taken it to mean that it’s some kind of Democrat-led assault on our personal freedoms and the beginning of some slippery slope intended to force everyone to do certain things.

It’s born of ignorance. They don’t realize or don’t care that it’s not about THEM- it’s as much about everyone around them, with the asymptomatic transmission of the virus. But trying to tell them that just gets a stonewall about “You can’t make me wear a mask! Damn libruls takin’ mah freedumz!”

Contact tracing using surveillance assets and technologies might be feasible?

We really should be looking at this as something that isn’t going to have a very effective vaccine and comes back yearly like the flu, because that’s probably what it’s going to be. Even people who have caught this and recovered have gotten it again months later. I’m not saying don’t go for a vaccine, but nobody has ever come up with an effective, safe, coronavirus vaccine. I do think it will be possible to come up with a good treatment eventually though.

As discussed in the other thread, this isn’t a super-meaningful data point. All the other coronaviruses either cause mild, cold-like symptoms (not worth developing a vaccine), were eradicated before the vaccine could be developed (SARS), affected very few people (MERS), or don’t infect humans.

Cite that his has happened to any substantial amount? All the reports I’ve read of this were quite rare and could easily be explained by a false negative test indicating that they hadn’t really cleared the virus.

Here you go. (Reuters)

"Levels of an antibody found in recovered COVID-19 patients fell sharply in 2-3 months after infection for both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients, according to a Chinese study, raising questions about the length of any immunity against the novel coronavirus. "

And here (Reuters) is some more good news (not).

"A specific mutation in the new coronavirus can significantly increase its ability to infect cells, according to a study by U.S. researchers. "

(Sorry for quotation marks. I’m still working out how to quote a block of text from an article.)

It baffles me why there is a general acceptance that a vaccie will be here before long. Don’t get me wrong, I want a vaccine and would wait in line to get it. But look at HIV. We’ve been working on that for decades and there’s no vaccine. I understand why politicians tout that a vaccine is coming, but I ain’t holding my breath.

Those are both semi-on-topic, but neither is a cite of any substantial reinfection.

Also discussed in past threads -

Research on vaccines for them did not stop after the diseases faded. It continued for many years after. Research stopped after the vaccines developed ended up causing enhanced disease upon exposure in animal models (antibody-dependent enhancement-mediated vaccine-induced infection aggravation). Which had been a problem for vaccine development for other CoVs as well (such as for various feline CoVs).

Nothing wrong with optimism, past experience may have been learning experiences, but past experience with CoV vaccine development also give good reason to temper that optimism.

Specific antibody levels are one very crude, but easy to measure, proxy for protection. But there is much more to immunity than that alone. A person can be (and often is) immune without high levels of specific antibody and might be susceptible even with high specific antibody levels.

Other factors that come into play include non-specific antibody levels that are cross-reactive, and specific T-cell levels and responsiveness. The latter is what generally is associated with long lasting protection but is a much bigger to-do to measure.

So far there are not substantial numbers of people documented as being reinfected. IF it behaves like other CoVs it should happen to some degree, but uncommonly in the near term.

One more generic comment: one should be cautious about taking what is suggested in a study as something conclusive or definitive.