Every weekday evening, our editors guide you through the biggest stories of the day, help you discover new ideas, and surprise you with moments of delight. Subscribe to get this delivered to your inbox.
The coronavirus isn’t going away this winter. In fact, the U.S. outbreak is poised to get worse.
Don’t pin your hopes on a vaccine, either. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, tells The Atlantic that a vaccine will not likely be in widespread distribution “until well into 2021.”
What can be done in the meantime?
Our staff writer James Hamblin spoke with dozens of experts over the past few months, distilling their recommendations into five actionable steps (excerpted below):
1. Accept reality.
Do not waste your time and emotional energy planning around an imminent game-changing injection or pill in the coming months.
2. Plan for more shutdowns.
Everyone will be better prepared if we plan for schools to close and for cities and businesses to shut back down, even while we hope they won’t have to.
3. Live like you’re contagious.
This primarily means paying attention to where you are and what’s coming out of your mouth. … During the holidays, don’t plan gatherings in places where you can’t be outdoors and widely spaced. This may mean postponing or canceling long-standing traditions.
4. Build for the pandemic.
This is an overdue opportunity to create and upgrade to permanently pandemic-resistant cities, businesses, schools, and homes. … Poor indoor air quality, for example, has long been a source of disease.
5. Hunt the virus.
Developing fast and reliable ways to detect the coronavirus will become only more crucial during the winter cold- and- flu season.