Our Viral Future
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 still a couple of years away. What follows is my understanding of the situation:
Until a vaccine is widely available, we’ll likely experience continuing cycles of tighter and looser restrictions with inverse correlations of falling and rising numbers of cases. Over time, more and more people will have been infected and developed immunity. 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 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, gotten over it, are non-communicative, and have immunity. 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 steadily falling even when precautions have been almost done away with. One can then feel increasingly less imprudent engaging in traditional activities involving close proximity to others.