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Will a Covid Vaccine be Found?

A vaccine for SARS-CoV-2 is the type of logical thing we can all write into plans for how to restore society and the economy back to “normal”. Except there is no reason to believe that a vaccine will ever be found. As of right now there are no vaccines for this type of virus. Some viruses have traits that allow for easy vaccines (polio) some kind of work (flu) and some have eluded us to date (the common cold). But there are reasons to believe that SARS-CoV-2 is more like the common cold than polio. Or not; it is a novel virus, and many things are as yet unknown about it. Of course as a society we will pour enormous amounts of money into trying to develop a working vaccine. But that is no guarantee of results.

If there is no vaccine, when should we relax restrictions on social gatherings? If we are going to be dealing with rolling waves of Covid-19 outbreaks, the time to cautiously and partially reopen is when there is capacity in the hospitals again, which is likely to be four weeks after we are about a half way down the slope of any flattened curve. That will vary depending on how high the peak of the curve was. We’ve had very different curves in different parts of the USA, and many areas of the country are just starting on the upslope.

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