Online home of Jeremy Scheff

I think the pandemic is about over

Why make these Covid posts? Isn't the Internet saturated with hot takes already? Am I really adding anything here?

I think the only reason for me to write about Covid is so I have a record to look back on what I thought at the time, which is kind of interesting for me, but maybe not so interesting for you :)

And what I think now is that the pandemic in the US is about over.

I know, there are pretty bad outbreaks in a lot of places right now. Some hospitals are overflowing with patients. That is very bad.

However those situations seem to mostly be peaking, or approaching a peak. I don't think they'll get substantially worse. And then, at some point in the somewhat near future, they will hopefully start to get better.

And when that happens, I predict that we'll never again face as big of a Covid outbreak as we just have. It'll mostly fade into the background of other normal diseases people get.

That was mostly the idea behind vaccination, that if we could vaccinate everyone, then it would either prevent infections or result in mild infections. That still seems to be true, despite the Delta variant. The vaccines are holding up pretty well, despite what you may hear from unreliable sources like the media and the government.

Of course, not everybody is vaccinated. That's a problem, sure. But there's a couple big factors that I think will still lead to the end of the pandemic, despite a significant unvaccinated popuation.

  1. Vaccination rates are not constant with age. A lot more older people are vaccinated than younger people. And older people are at much higher risk from Covid, so younger people being unvaccinated is less of a concern.

  2. There is at least some imperfect evidence suggesting that natural infection provides even better immunity than vaccination.

At this point, the vast majority of the vulnerable population is vaccinated, previously infected, or dead. I know there is heterogeneity all over the place and that matters a lot, but how many places have a large population of vulnerable people with no protection against Covid? Places like that are the ones being hit hard by Delta now. But the harder they are hit, the more people move into that "previously infected" category. And Delta is so infectious that I wonder how many places like that can really be hiding from it still.

Anyway, I'm not here to do any rigorous modeling to actually make a convincing case of anything. It just seems like it's going to be increasingly difficult for Covid to cause huge outbreaks like this in the US anymore. So maybe the pandemic is about over?