Our Viral Future, continued

Thanks to some informed feedback, what follows is a revision of “my understanding” of the situation. Excisions are in brackets. Additions in italics.

{My guess is that} A widely available safe and effective vaccine or solidly effective antiviral drug, as distinguished from a Trump/Pence fantasy of one, is at least a couple of years away. 

Until a vaccine is widely available, we’ll likely experience continuing cycles of tighter and looser restrictions with roughly inverse correlations of falling and rising numbers of cases. 

Over time, more and more people will have been infected and may have developed immunity, (it not being known to what degree and for how long).

CDC recently estimated that there may have been at least ten times as many cases as have been reported. This is because a lot of infected people have no symptoms or minor symptoms and don’t get tested. 

{It appears that people who have been infected will have immunity lasting at least until a vaccine is available.} By a year from now it’s possible that half the people in the country will have been infected, recovered, are non-communicative, and have immunity. A wide variety of other scenarios are possible as well.

At some point, we’ll reach {“herd” immunity,} a state where, even though rules have been very much relaxed, the average infected person infects fewer than one other person. Then the numbers of communicable people and numbers of new cases begin fall. One can then feel increasingly less imprudent engaging in traditional activities involving close proximity to others.

     It’s shocking how much is still unknown about this virus.