The Beginning of the End of Covid-19

By Charlie Bilello

16 Jan 2021

I’ve been waiting to write this post since the pandemic began a year ago.

The ups and downs have been many over that time as the virus has moved in waves throughout the world.

Here in the US, the first wave would hit the northeast the hardest.

The second wave would hit the south and west the hardest.

The third wave would hit the midwest the hardest and then everywhere else.

This scourge has now taken the lives of over 400,000 Americans and altered our daily lives in ways that would have seemed unimaginable in January of last year.

But the road back to normalcy is now visible with a bright light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope that we may be at or near a national peak in the virus from which things will only get better.

I don’t write that lightly, knowing how many times in the past we thought the worst was over only to be hit with another wave in places that had been previously spared.

But the data is promising, for the first time in months, and we we all need something to believe in…

Hospitalizations in the US have now declined over the previous week for the 3rd consecutive day. The last time we saw such a decline was in late September.

From their peak of over 132,000 on January 6, hospitalizations have declined by over 5,000.

This is important, as hospitalizations are a leading indicator of deaths, which hit a new high of 3,335 per day on January 13.

Deaths are a lagging indicator, and will be the last to fall. But if the trend in hospitalizations continues, fall they will.

There are other forces at work as well that could accelerate the descent. The combination of…

  • Natural herd immunity (20-25% of Americans have likely already had the virus),
  • Immunity from vaccines (quickly approaching 1 million new doses per day in the US with a focus on the elderly),
  • Fewer large gatherings (no major holidays coming up), and
  • Warmer weather (more time spent outside).

To be sure, this is not the time to let our guard down, with the prevalence of the virus still near its peak. The UK strain, which is now all over the US and highly transmissible is still a major concern as well. Other mutations in South Africa and Brazil also appear to be more transmissible.

The good news, however, is that scientists believe the current vaccines will be effective against these strains. And while there will certainly be more mutations in the future, we will likely see something akin to the flu vaccine which adapts to these changes each year.

This is a virus that will become endemic in the population but hopefully not endemic to our way of life. There will be more bumps along the way, of that I am sure. But the beginning of the end of covid-19 is finally in sight.

Enjoy your weekend everyone.


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