(The Wall Street Journal) The U.S. is entering a new phase of the Covid-19 pandemic as people settle back into normal life thanks to vaccines, but public-health authorities are preparing for Americans to live with the disease lurking in the background for the long run.
Many health professionals believe that reaching herd immunity is a distant goal, due both to highly varied vaccination rates in the U.S. and uncertainty about just how much Covid-19 must be suppressed to effectively stop its spread.
Instead, they are focused on how to make it a manageable disease, with steps like close surveillance and rapid response to outbreaks in a partially vaccinated population. Calls for masks and social distancing could return, too, in efforts to control future flare-ups, health authorities say.
“I think our experience historically is we will find a new normal living with this disease,” said John Brooks, chief medical officer of the Covid-19 response at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The question is, what is that new normal going to look like?”