How We Can End the COVID-19 Pandemic
As we close in on one year since the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed life in the United States, we’re beginning to see some signs of progress in the fight against the virus.
But when can we expect to see the end of the COVID-19 pandemic? Here are 4 factors that could play a role in bringing the pandemic to an end in 2021.
As of March 17, 2021, over 133 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with over 71 million people receiving at least one dose. While vaccination rates are increasing, the White House announced that vaccines won’t be widely available until mid- to late May or early June.
While some states including Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, South Carolina, Texas and Wyoming have chosen to roll back their mask requirements, mask wearing is still a critical component of reducing the spread as we continue to make progress against the virus.
According to a study published in Health Affairs, mask mandates led to a slowdown in the daily COVID-19 case rate, slowed by 0.9 percentage points five days after the mandate was implemented, and slowing to 2 percentage points three weeks later.
Experts estimate that 70 to 90 percent of people may need to be immune to the virus in order to achieve herd immunity. However, this is highly dependent on the vaccination rates, as well as any new variants that may cause unanticipated risk and spread of the virus.
“The new strains of SARS-CoV-2 show us the potential for mutation in this virus. I think the current vaccines have been shown to be quite robust, but that doesn’t mean a new variant couldn’t evade the vaccine immune response,” says Dr. Travis Wilkes. “Fortunately with the current vaccine technology, it should be relatively easy to develop a booster that would cover additional variants if needed.”
One easy way to help end the pandemic is with frequent testing. According to a study from JAMA, over half of all transmitted cases of COVID-19 are spread by presymptomatic or asymptomatic individuals. With an at-home test from empowerDX, you can be a “super tester”, do your part to know your COVID-19 status and prevent the spread of the virus in your community.
Additionally, worn mask testing allows you to perform one test to sound the alarm and help identify this virus’s invasion into your home or work environment. It does not require a doctor’s order and does not have any age restrictions (which many clinical tests have).
Overall, scientists and researchers have made progress towards finding solutions against the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s essential to remain vigilant until more people can get vaccinated.
“We have to be very careful forecasting since there can be many curveballs we don’t see coming such as the recent issues with SARS-CoV-2 variants,” says Dr. Travis Wilkes. “Hopefully vaccination rates skyrocket and we get back to some form of normal; however, complacency may develop and lead to a loss of vigilance. Ultimately, we should approach the next year optimistically but cautiously, continue to wear masks and continue with frequent testing.”
Interested in an at-home COVID-19 test from empowerDX? Here’s how it works:
Order and receive
Each At-Home COVID-19 Nasal PCR Test Kit contains test supplies for one person.
Swab and send sample back
Our at-home coronavirus test is easy! Follow our step-by-step instructions, and mail your swab back to the lab the same day you take your sample.
Get your results
Get results within 48 hours of our lab receiving your sample, weekdays only.
Note: This is a brief overview of emerging evidence and should not be taken as treatment advice or treatment recommendations for any individual or specific medical condition. The strategies reviewed may not be appropriate for you. For any medical advice or consideration, we strongly suggest discussions with your personal healthcare professionals.
*Albeit at concentrations considerably lower than during illness, in concentration ranges where replication-competent virus has not been reliably recovered and infectiousness is unlikely.