How to End the Pandemic
Even with effective vaccines, the coronavirus and its new variants will continue to subject us to successive epidemic waves. Returning to normal life ultimately will require a multi-layered strategy featuring vaccines, prophylactics, public-health measures, and deeper global cooperation.
BOSTON – The United States has now entered its fifth wave of COVID-19 infections. In each one, the country has paid a high price for doing far less than it could. In the first wave, lockdowns and other restrictions were spotty. Then came untested and unproven treatments. With the vaccine rollout, new infections were pushed down substantially, but now the Delta variant has started pushing them back up in unvaccinated populations.
At each stage, the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 was underestimated. From what we know of its ability to adapt and thrive through random mutations, there is only one viable option for long-term disease control: a strategy that combines a rapidly growing arsenal of vaccines and antiviral drugs with strong public-health measures and deeper global cooperation.