Aug 10, 2020 - Health

The winter from hell

Person wearing a mask in the snow

Photo: Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The hope and promise of May is gone, replaced by the realization that America is in for another miserable year of COVID-19.

Why it matters: Another winter — and another flu season — is on the way as the U.S. engages in a whack-a-mole strategy that slows down the virus in one region, but sees it flaring up in another.

  • "Unless Americans use the dwindling weeks between now and the onset of 'indoor weather' to tamp down transmission in the country, this winter could be Dickensianly bleak," public health experts told STAT's Helen Branswell.
  • “I think November, December, January, February are going to be tough months in this country without a vaccine,” said Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota.

The stark results:

  • Our schools are increasingly desperate, and parents too. Online education isn't the same for adults, let alone elementary students.
  • To cap it all off, our entertainment options are running dry. Studios haven't been filming and there are dimming prospects for fall college sports.

The big picture: No other rich nation has anything close to our level of sustained outbreak, so no other rich nation will have anything close to our level of misery in the 2020-21 school year.

  • Europe is reporting a new outbreak, as have nations in Asia.
  • But they have repeatedly done what we haven't since the weather warmed up — successfully put the screws on community spread.

The bottom line: This may be the most miserable school year ever for many people, and a groundswell event that could forever alter the life trajectory for many of America's kids.

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