The pandemic is going to extend well into 2022 for at least one reason … for every one of the 331 million citizens of the United States, there are 2.6 citizens of India who HAVE NOT been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 or been vaccinated. That’s roughly 880 million susceptible hosts in just one country on the planet. Find the seroprevalence for the rest of the countries on Earth, and you’ll find billions more susceptible hosts planet-wide. ANY virus will continue to win with those human resources at their disposal. Virology 101.
Some folks want to pretend that the vaccines have failed us when it is the inefficiency of government and the short-sightedness of wealthy nations that has failed us. The Earth is huge in terms of mass, but very small in terms of how well nearly 8 billion people are connected. The fact that you can go to the other side of the planet in less than one day is why diseases like this spread so fast. Billions of susceptible hosts means that new variants are going to proliferate and given the sample size that they work with, they will become better at what they do each time until we humans get our acts together. We will certainly need boosters and we might even need a new version of the vaccine. If we are lucky in the next few years, the work ongoing towards a universal coronavirus vaccine will save our cans. It’s more likely that annual COVID shots are the future for folks who like breathing. It’ll be the new flu. People will pray that they get the flu instead of COVID because the flu will become the new infectious “walk in the park.”
Human arrogance and ignorance that take shape within our selfish behaviors are things that will keep us from beating this disease. The fact that so many people refuse to mask up for any reason means that far too many of us refuse to take care of our neighbor. You can say all you want that you truly love your neighbor, but if you refuse to follow the basics of Public Health advice because of your freedoms or because you think that you know more than multiple branches of Science, then you don’t. You love your irresponsible freedom more than your neighbor. Your arrogance, ignorance, and selfishness eclipse whatever love you claim to have for your neighbor. Are you free to do that in America? Yes. That doesn’t make it good or right.
IF we, as a species, had universally masked up, THEN we’d have at least half the death count right now. Probably much less. Perhaps no such thing as Delta in our face right now.
IF we, as a species, had improved ventilation by using MERV filters in HVAC systems and HEPA filters in portable air cleaners, THEN the COVID death tally would be more like an annual flu. Have you noticed that the flu has been essentially non-existent this pandemic. It’s because of masks and a lot less congregate settings and/or a lot less people in those settings.
I’ve been banging the drum of Physics about this for over a year now because from that perspective, it is simply a point-particle problem. IF you cause those aerosol “point-particles” to interact with matter in the form of mask material and filter media, then you will stop the vast majority of those virus-carrying aerosols from getting into other peoples lungs. These basic things would eliminate AT LEAST 99% of the exposure that we’ve lived with for the last 20 months. Opening doors and windows with even the faintest hint of a breeze/draft would do nearly as good anywhere on this planet. It really would have been that simple, but as a group, we humans are selfish and stupid. We trust politicians, pundits, and pastors on matters of Science more than the scientists who’ve devoted their lives to its progress. That is a form of arrogance that defies description.
I have long suspected (since fall 2020) that the only way out of the pandemic is over a pile of dead bodies that are mostly children. I get no pleasure in saying that, and I most certainly hope that we avoid that. I pray that I am wrong, but since reason and logic and humility have been absent in the portion of our populations that refuse to cooperate, I can’t think of anything else that would get their attention. I sense that the folks that hold us back can only be shocked into compliance by such a terrible outcome. Their behavior is literally pushing the world in that direction.