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.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
17 hours ago - Health

Millions of COVID-19 vulnerable adults tied to schools

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

At least 42% of school employees are vulnerable to the coronavirus, and at least 63.2% of employees live with someone who is at increased risk, according to a new study published in Health Affairs.

Why it matters: We know children can catch and spread the virus. This study emphasizes why minimizing risk if and when schools reopen is crucial.

Sep 17, 2020 - Health

Pew: 49% of Americans would not get COVID-19 vaccine if available today

A health care worker holds a COVID-19 vaccine at the Research Centers of America (RCA) in Hollywood, Florida on Aug. 13. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

51% of U.S. adults would "definitely or probably" get a coronavirus vaccine if the treatment were available today, while 49% would not, according to a Pew survey published Thursday.

Why it matters: All major political and demographic groups said they are less likely to get a COVID-19 vaccine since May, Pew finds, although Republicans and Black adults are least likely.

Updated Sep 18, 2020 - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.