Viewpoint: America needs new goals for COVID-19 

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The U.S. lacks a concrete plan to deal with COVID-19 as experts predict it will phase into an endemic, Sarah Zhang wrote for The Atlantic Nov. 1.

"Even when we reach endemicity — when nearly everyone has baseline immunity from either infection or vaccination — the U.S. could be facing tens of millions of infections from the coronavirus every year, thanks to waning immunity and viral evolution," she wrote. "But with vaccines available, not every case of COVID-19 is created equal." 

Ms. Zhang said experts need to come to an agreement regarding what is trying to be prevented, as different goals require prioritization of different strategies. 

"Once we’ve defined what we are trying to prevent, we can define thresholds for lifting and, if necessary, reinstating COVID-19 measures," Ms. Zhang wrote.

One plausible goal, Ms. Zhang said, is minimizing COVID-19's impact on hospitals. In order to relieve overwhelmed hospitals, however, vaccination of elderly residents needs to increase. 

Céline Gounder, MD, an infectious-disease expert at New York University added the risks of long COVID-19 also need to be considered. 

"Hard questions lie ahead, and the answers require political will," Ms. Zhang concluded. "But first, we have to stop avoiding them. We need a goal."

 

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