How will the pandemic end? The science of past outbreaks offers clues.
The answer depends on many factors, perhaps the most critical being the global nature of the crisis.
After months of encouraging trendlines, July’s dramatic spike in global COVID-19 infections has dimmed the proverbial light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.
In May, coronavirus cases were declining across the U.S., parts of Europe, and the Middle East as vaccination rates rose, spurring an easing of social and travel restrictions and a wave of business reopenings. But in the U.S., at least, any celebration was short-lived. By July, vaccination rates flatlined and highly transmissible coronavirus variants swept the nation, forcing health officials to reimpose masking recommendations and call for increased inoculations.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020. After 17 grueling and chaotic months, weary people are wondering: When will the pandemic finally end?