The data is forming a trend that suggest this is already starting to happen, regionally. Public health is just now seeking an exit strategy:
One possibility would be an echo of the 1890 pandemic: The virus slowly drops off as countries develop herd immunity due to a large majority of the population being infected or getting vaccinated. After anywhere from a few years to a few decades, it only circulates among children and rarely causes anything more serious than the sniffles.
Or the virus could be stamped out completely, or close to it, with vaccines. It could disappear like smallpox, or be pushed to such low levels in the U.S. that it shows up only in isolated clusters, as with measles.
Note – “few years” – typically 1 to 3 years, which we are at. The above report is surprisingly hopeful and seems grounded in the reality-based world. About time we see these.
Vaccines will be the final closure, so to speak, but many experts have suggested we have begun to see herd effects. Herd immunity (HI) does not mean the virus vanishes but as there are fewer and fewer targets for the virus, the pandemic gradually comes to an end.
Our strategy has been to delay cases as long as possible in the theory that vaccines would save the day. Instead, we have mostly delayed cases to their peaking this winter – after which things drop off on their own. If this occurs, vaccines will play a minor role in Covid-19 going endemic.
Like the 1968 influenza pandemic, that pandemic ended before vaccines had been widely deployed. This seems a possibility with Covid-19.
In my state, based on official statements from public health “experts”, we (meaning my household) are unlikely to have access to vaccinations until Fall of 2021 or even winter of 2021/2022.
By which time, it becomes a moot issue. There are “Experts” now suggesting the pandemic is over with by mid-2021.
Remember, I am an idiot with no health care experience. I do not make predictions. I make observations and ask stupid questions.