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Sunday, August 1, 2021

The sluggish transitions of a lingering pandemic

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With COVID-19 restrictions lifting in some places and outbreaks popping up in others, the pandemic has formally entered the bizarre zone.

Okay, there’s nothing official about it, however the complete world is in a wierd transition time proper now — and certain shall be for some time. Not like the jump-cut into the pandemic, and even the suspenseful vaccine ramp-up, this time is extra hopeful, much less frantic, but additionally stretched out in an uneven mess. Locations, populations, and even industries are transferring at totally different paces as they transfer again to some semblance of normality.

It’s like the complete globe is enjoying by a perverse model of “yes, and.” Sure, extra persons are vaccinated within the US than earlier than, and immunocompromised persons are still at risk. Sure, the vaccines that now we have are stunningly efficient, and they’re in such quick provide that many nations are absolutely desperate to get them.

Right here within the US, one of the seen transitions is the vanishing act of varied COVID-19 rules. New York lifted most restrictions this week, and Disneyland reopened to everybody, without mask requirements. Folks in these areas are having fun with a return to places of work, and eating places and blessed normalcy — particularly in areas the place case charges are low. On the identical time, components of the nation the place vaccination charges have stayed low face the potential of summer surges. Tensions between totally different areas will linger so long as disparities stay.

Within the pharmaceutical and analysis realm, there’s a special shift. The flurry of medical trials and lab work that accompanied vaccine growth is now slowing. There are nonetheless 1000’s of questions, however the largest and most pressing — can we make a vaccine? — has been answered. Now, analysis focuses have shifted and break up. Some are nonetheless engaged on vaccines and boosters, others are investigating new COVID-19 drugs or in search of to know the virus’s origins and mechanics, and others have gone again to totally different initiatives completely. With vaccines, the largest points are actually monitoring and distribution, not analysis and growth.

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How individuals really feel about all of those adjustments is one other issue completely — private shifts in priorities, fears, and feelings are going to play an enormous position on this subsequent section of the pandemic. As vaccinations go up and case numbers go down, finally, we’ll get used to the coronavirus, and it’ll cease to be an unknown threat. We’ll cease enthusiastic about it each day — some individuals have already got.

Within the meantime, most individuals are caught someplace within the huge hole between warning and abandon. Every particular person will finally transfer previous their very own private marker for the pandemic period. It’d come once they get that second shot or step right into a theatre for the primary time or go away a masks sitting on the desk at house. As with all transitions, one thing will finish, and one thing else will take its place.

As a fast observe earlier than we get into what occurred with COVID-19 this week, I additionally wished to notice that you just may see some new (small) adjustments to this text. Ultimately, we’ll shift the e-newsletter over to a weekday as a substitute of a Saturday. And beginning subsequent week, I’ll be handing over the reins to Nicole Wetsman, The Verge’s well being reporter. She’s been filling in periodically, however I’m thrilled to have her writing to you extra recurrently.

Some issues received’t change, at the least not but. We’ll maintain masking the pandemic and maintain you updated with what’s occurring on the planet.

Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us every week.


People hospitalized with COVID-19 now have one overwhelming thing in common. They’re not vaccinated.

Within the US, there’s extra proof that vaccines are overwhelmingly efficient. Docs and well being methods are more and more reporting that the COVID-19 sufferers displaying up for remedy aren’t vaccinated. (Elizabeth Weise and Aleszu Bajak/USA At this time)

Struggling Hospitals Could Explain Why So Many Black Patients Have Died Of COVID-19

A research printed this week discovered that one cause for the horrifying disparities in COVID-19 deaths within the US may come right down to a paucity of healthcare sources in hospitals that serve Black sufferers. (Stephanie M Lee/BuzzFeed Information)


CureVac fails in pivotal COVID-19 vaccine trial with 47% efficacy

A unique mRNA vaccine simply tanked a medical trial, solely displaying 47 % efficacy towards the virus. It’s a setback for the vaccine, which some hoped would assist bolster the worldwide provide. (Ludwig Burger/ Reuters)

Inside Pfizer’s race to produce the world’s biggest supply of COVID vaccine

A glance inside the corporate’s race to provide its new vaccine on an unprecedented scale. (Christopher Rowland/The Washington Publish)

A Pill to Treat Covid-19? The U.S. Is Betting on It.

$3 billion has now been put aside to assist researchers dig right into a remedy for COVID-19. As an alternative of a vaccine, which prevents the virus from taking maintain, a remedy would fight the illness when an individual really has it. (Carl Zimmer/The New York Occasions)


India’s fighting a battle against COVID-19 on WhatsApp

Accredited social well being activists are the foot troopers of India’s rural healthcare system. Recently, they’ve additionally taken on the daunting activity of combating COVID-19 misinformation, largely in native WhatsApp teams. Take a peek inside their efforts to bust misinformation of their villages. (Sanket Jain/The Verge)

The telephones have been ringing, pagers going off, doorways opening and shutting, IV pumps beeping, ventilators oscillating, after which there was Karl, with a respectful smile, simply quietly and effectively transferring our bodies onto a metallic gurney, after which masking them with a black tarp.

Courtney Martin, head of maternity companies at Loma Linda College Medical Heart, writes about Karl, an important employee throughout the pandemic. Maria L La Ganga helped tell his story in the Los Angeles Times.


To the individuals who have acquired the 2.51 billion vaccine doses distributed to date — thanks.

To the greater than 177,201,586 individuals worldwide who’ve examined Positive, could your highway to restoration be clean.

To the households and pals of the three,836,036 individuals who have died worldwide — 600,880 of these within the US — your family members aren’t forgotten.

Keep protected, everybody.

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