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Is this as good as it gets? NYTimes: Herd Immunity May Be Out of Reach

Due to vaccine hesitancy, the global nature of variants, and the increased transmissibility of some variants like the B.117, immunologists and officials (including Fauci) are now conceding we may never achieve herd immunity.

This may become the new normal. The expectation is that Covid will just float around forever, creating crises every few years as new variants emerge.

I’m trying to wrap my head around this. What does it mean for the future?

If Covid floats around forever, and every now and then a nasty variant emerges, what will life be like?

I assume we will just go back / be forced back into life as before, but even though I am pretty young, and I expect my children will eventually be vaccinated, I could see us making some permanent changes.

I think we will travel less. I think we may wear masks when we fly for the rest of our lives. Living in such nice weather, we may just make a habit of doing more stuff outdoors, like I could imagine over time restaurants will build more and more outdoor seating. We will probably always make refundable travel plans just in case a variant emerges. 

Some favorite indoor activities, I expect to resume. I’ll probably resume watching movies, but will I wear a mask in theatres for life? Maybe.

Some activities I may modify. I might stop hosting holiday parties, and move more toward summer backyard bbqs as my “big get-together”

Some activities, which were borderline, may just fade away. I am a huge fan of football. I imagine I will return. In 2019 I tried out attending more indoor sports. It wasn’t huge for me, so I may not return. I enjoy buffets, and find them a quick, convenient way to eat breakfast while traveling, but I can live without them. Hopefully hotels can find an efficient substitute. I’d be fine with grab and go bags and motion activated coffee dispensers.

Maybe enough people can be convinced to get vaccinated, but I fear we have just gone too far down the gaslighting, “there is no truth/my podcaster’s conspiracy theory is just as valid as an expert’s view” rabbit hole.

A more realistic “good case scenario” is that we develop such cheap, ubiquitous tests and develop such good therapeutics that people can just regularly test themselves and seek out treatment early. I heard they are testing treatments as convenient as a pill.

I’m feeling pretty down as this sinks in.

Assume you live in CA. The perspective for those living here I think is vastly different than those living elsewhere. Listened to the Gov of South Dakota a few days back, and their perspective is vastly different than here in the Bay Area, because they reacted differently to the pandemic. Interestingly, drive over the Altamont, and the perspective in the Central Valley is vastly different than the perspective in the Silicon Valley.

I'd imagine we will end up treating this like the flu, with new boosters every year. However, the attention to indoor air quality and airborne transmission of pathogens are here to stay. Even JLo, DeNiro and Lady Gaga are pushing "well buildings" now. . . .
Too bad that the term "Herd Immunity" has the word "immunity" in it. It seems some people think that if X% of the population are sufficiently resistant to the disease, then somehow the disease will die out. I believe the correct interpretation is that the epidemic/pandemic will die out, but the disease will continue at some low level.

Those fully vaccinated are not immune to the disease. They are about 90% resistant (for mRNA vaccines), at least for the first few months.

For COVID, even if every person in the world were vaccinated, I don't think we'll ever get all the minks, felines, or other animals that can carry this disease such that they are free of the disease.

As for the concern about variants, that mostly goes away when the level of the disease drops enough. Has anyone heard of polio virus variants in the last 50 years? I haven't (but I wouldn't know).

Out of some 150+M cases, we've got maybe 10 variants that we are concerned about. If there are only 1.5M cases per year, there is about 1 variant of interest every 10 years. If we can get that down to 150K cases per year, then it is 1 variant of interest every 100 years.

I hope this is treated more like polio and less like the flu. If we tolerate 15M cases/year, we will have variants often.
There were 3 wild polio variants. Type 2 was wiped out a 6 years ago. Type 3 was eradicated 2 years ago. Type 1 is still circulating at low levels on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, where it is difficult to get everyone vaccinated. The same nonsensical vaccine paranoia you hear about in the USA is prevalent there as well.

There is some limited oral polio type virus circulating in Nigeria. It is a mutation of the vaccine and can cause paralysis, but it isn't very virulent. As they switch to inactivated vaccine like we use here and in most of the world it will cease to exist.

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