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For the first time in over a year, people are starting to feel hope that the pandemic has finally turned a corner. Nearly a third of Americans are fully vaccinated, and the CDC has relaxed its recommendations on outdoor masks. Europe is on track to be extensively vaccinated by summer’s end. Both Paris and New York have announced they’re reopening for business.
But in reality we’re entering one of the most precarious moments in the pandemic. We’re in a critical race between vaccines and variants of the virus, and despite all the progress we’ve made in recent months, the outcome is far from certain. Fewer than one in 10 people on the planet has had even a single dose of any COVID-19 vaccine, while new and frightening variants are infecting people at a record pace. And that puts all of us — even, in a worst-case scenario, the vaccinated among us — at risk of having to go back to square one.
The situation is so alarming that top public-health experts and virologists I spoke with sound more disheartened about the state of the pandemic now than they did just a few months ago, when it seemed as if vaccines were going to flatten the curve.
“It’s not looking good, just to be totally honest,” the leading virologist Dr. James Hildreth, who serves on the Food and Drug Administration advisory committee that authorizes COVID-19 vaccines, told me. “It seems almost as if the availability of vaccines, and the knowledge that they’re coming, has caused some people to let up their guard a little too soon.”
Scientists who have tracked the spread of variants since the dawn of the pandemic have watched in horror as new, more infectious mutations have taken over. “Until November, most people really didn’t …read more
Source:: Business Insider