Did anyone else experience a case of pandemic-inspired whiplash this week? When the news came out Monday that the Pfizer vaccine was shown to be 90 percent effective, I felt more than relieved. Almost giddy, even. Not only was it the first bit of good news in what seemed like ages, it was better than expected. (This piece we ran by James Capretta and Scott Ganz recently discusses the vaccine trials and why the CDC and WHO set a threshold of 50 percent efficacy for approval.) Sure, it might not be widely available until April, but at least we knew it was coming.
But then, as the election craziness receded, the gruesome reality of the pandemic came back to the forefront. The situation both in the United States and around the world has been getting worse for weeks now, but it was easy to avoid thinking about it in the leadup to the election and in the days that followed. No more.
As experts predicted over the summer, the coronavirus gained strength—as viruses do—as the weather got colder and people headed indoors. I remember early in the pandemic, I wrote in one of these newsletters about how awful it felt watching the John Hopkins COVID tracker tally the 100,000th American case. Now we are seeing far more cases than that every day.
And so now states are talking about going into lockdown. Here in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced this week that he would close bars, and restaurants, and gyms as early as next week if the “trend continues.” Like many states, we are seeing record-level cases almost every day. Last Sunday, there were about 4,500 new cases. By Friday? We recorded 8,000. I don’t see how that trend changes within a week.