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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public health experts generally agree that the coronavirus is here to stay — which raises the question of when the pandemic will be over, The Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal writes.

Why it matters: It's highly unlikely that the U.S. will vaccinate enough people to completely eradicate the virus, and even more unlikely that this will happen worldwide. That means that we have to decide what level of risk we want to live with.

What they're saying: "Fewer than 100 deaths a day—to mirror the typical mortality of influenza in the U.S. over a typical year—is an appropriate goal," Monica Gandhi, an infectious-disease specialist at UC San Francisco, told Madrigal.

  • That'd correlate with only a few thousand new cases a day.

Reality check: We're nowhere near those numbers yet.

What we're watching: It could take months for the number of Americans with some form of immunity to the virus — whether through vaccination or infection — to drive daily coronavirus deaths below 100.

  • "Until then, we'll be confronted with a different sort of risk: that, for some, the pandemic feels like it's over long before it actually is," Madrigal writes.
  • "Just as the country has never taken a unified approach to battling COVID-19, we may very well end up without a unified approach to deciding when it ends."

Go deeper

Updated Oct 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. releases updated vaccination, testing rules for foreign travelers — Moderna says COVID vaccine shows strong immune response in kids — COVID vaccines for kids are getting closer — A choose-your-own COVID booster adventure
  2. Health: Unvaccinated athletes face 21-day quarantine at Beijing Olympics
  3. Politics: Study reveals disparities in hospitals' COVID funds — DeSantis touts bonuses for unvaccinated police who relocate to Florida — Puerto Rico leads U.S. vaccination rates
  4. Education: Benefits of COVID vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Feb 23, 2021 - Health

Pfizer and Moderna expect to double vaccine shipments by spring

UCHealth pharmacist Marissa Kim prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Feb. 20 in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty Images

Moderna and Pfizer plan to significantly boost vaccine shipments to the U.S. government by this spring, according to written testimony from company executives released Tuesday ahead of a House committee hearing on vaccines.

Where it stands: Pfizer expects to increase its weekly vaccine delivery from 4-5 million doses at the start of February to more than 13 million doses by mid-March, said John Young, Pfizer's chief business officer.

Feb 24, 2021 - Politics & Policy

In photos: Congress holds moment of silence for coronavirus victims

Congressional leadership outside of the Capitol on Feb. 23. Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress held a candlelight vigil on the steps on the U.S. Capitol Tuesday evening in honor of the Americans who have died from the coronavirus.

Why it matters: The U.S. death toll from the virus passed 500,000 on Monday, just one year after the country's first COVID-19 death was confirmed.