Nearly all of the focus to date on COVID’s impacts has been about hospitalizations and deaths. We have assumed that if we can prevent those two outcomes, we’re past the worst of the crisis. But long COVID might be the third bad outcome, emerging from the shadows.
School Districts are scrambling, parents are frightened, and COVID is sending children to the hospital at rates far higher than before. Will the same happen here, or are we better prepared than they appear to be in Hawaii, Arizona, Florida, Alabama, and Missouri?
Our snow-cone mountains will still look snowy in winter, but plenty of people alive today will live to see Rainier, Adams, Baker, Hood, and, of course, Glacier Peak lose their whiteness completely during the summer, the way forcefully de-glaciered St. Helen's does now.
Few decisions are harder than those which involve increasing your chances of changing the odds that an unlikely bad event might happen. The decision is complicated here by the lack of data, because the virus is new and surprising.
An asteroid variant could emerge wherever the case rate remains high, meaning either in the large part of the world that won’t get the vaccine for quite a while longer, or in a highly-vaccinated country that has lowered hospitalizations and deaths, but is still supporting a high rate of new infections.