When will the pandemic “end”?

Most public health and media reports say the pandemic only ends when 60-70% of the population has been vaccinated. Based on existing schedules, that implies fall of 2021.

But that is not a very good metric for determining the end. Ultimately, the pandemic ends when the spread of the disease has fallen dramatically. In other words, R-0 is well below 1.0 and stays well below 1.0.

This can occur without vaccinations. Indeed, all past pandemics have eventually ended on their own, without vaccines, as people contract the disease, develop subsequent antibodies and the virus runs out of targets to easily spread.

Many scientists have suggested this type of ending may come before the vaccination thresholds are reached.

  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, formerly FDA Commissioner, thinks these effects will occur as soon as the end of 2020. (“Effects” means we see a slowing spread, not that the virus is gone.)
  • A prominent researcher at University College London thinks the pandemic falls to an endemic level in “early 2021”. That basically means it falls to low level remaining present in the background.
  • A data scientist has a model (for whatever that is worth) and concludes the pandemic is over in the May/June 2021 time frame.
  • Several scientists at prestigious research groups have made similar comments.

Of course no one knows with certainty. The above are all mostly expert opinion. Seems inline with my hypothesis from last September.

While vaccination programs may move the goal line up by a month or two or three, the pandemic may very well end of its own accord – not because of vaccines.

The only thing we can predict is that new politicians in 2021 will take full credit for having ended the pandemic even though all of the things that lead to a pandemic ending were in place before they took office.

Reminder: I am an idiot with no health care experience and my comments are strictly for Entertainment Purposes Only.