It is humbling to see nature in a rampage.
Today, our country had 120,000 new cases of COVID-19. The numbers reflect a diffuse increase in infections throughout the country, with almost every state seeing increases.
Most of the areas impacted are new, so one could explain this surge with areas naive to the virus. This does not, however, explain areas like Chicago, where the infection seems to rage regardless of prior COVID-19 waves.
At this rate, the entire US population would be infected in less than 5 years. Arguments about “herd immunity” are meaningless when the virus is endemic in every state, every country, every city. It will infect everyone regardless of countermeasures.
The best hope is a truly effective vaccine that will break the cycle of infection. We will know soon. We need to stem the tide for now with the hope many of the most susceptible will be protected.
If this first approach fails, we need to make decisions about new types of vaccines, as well as ways to manage the infections to keep the heath system intact so it can provide basic care for other important diseases. Children need vaccines, adults, especially seniors, need cancer screens, diabetes management and care for other respiratory infections like influenza and RSV.
While we have been arguing about the esthetics of our approach nature has been relentless. It does not care about personal conflicts. It simply see opportunity. More infected people means more virus. It wins, we lose.
We are all tired of fighting, but now may be the most important time. Let us all stop arguing and redouble our efforts to stem this pandemic at least until the vaccine read out is clear.
The first data is at most a month or six weeks away. At that time we will decide our path forward.