The Food and Drug Administration last Saturday issued an emergency-use authorization for the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine, which is administered in a series of two shots one month apart. Announcement of the EUA came after a whirlwind week of media coverage following the EUA for the Pfizer vaccine.
We can only say bravo to the vaccine researchers who developed these two treatments at breakneck pace, taking months to produce what, in the past, has taken years. The science behind the vaccines seems futuristic, but it’s very much in the here and now. Both use genetic material, rather than the virus itself, to trigger an immune response by the body.
Amid the jubilation that so many of us felt as the vaccines were rolled out, new Covid-19 cases — and deaths — continued to skyrocket. On the same day that the EUA was issued for the Moderna vaccine, the U.S. recorded more than 250,000 new cases — more than on nearly any other day since the coronavirus was first reported here in early March. That same day, some 2,800 people died of the virus. The day before that, nearly 3,300. The day before that, 3,600.
We would be foolish to believe we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It will be months before we understand the true effect of the vaccines. The coronavirus became so widespread in the U.S. that it is now ubiquitous across the land, and is truly inescapable, except through mask wearing and social distancing.
We cannot believe that we can, at this moment, magically return to normal life — to our holiday gatherings, full of family members and friends. We are a long way from that.
We are not likely to begin a staged return to our pre-pandemic lives until we see a precipitous drop in the infection and death rates, which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the federal government’s leading infectious disease expert, warns could come in April, at the earliest.
Over the weekend, we also received word from Great Britain that the coronavirus may have mutated into a new strain there, causing countries around the globe to ban travel from the United Kingdom in the hope of stopping the spread of the mutated virus.
No, this is no time for apathy. It is a time of hope, yes, but we must not be lulled into a false sense of security. We’ve been down that road before.