With time and effort, we can build enough protection to blunt surges—but herd immunity remains out of reach.
A lot has changed since last year’s pre-Delta lull, but America can still reclaim some coronavirus-free chill—if it decides to commit.
Whatever happened to the simpler Greek-letter naming system?
Millions of people are still mourning loved ones lost to COVID, their grief intensified, prolonged, and even denied by the politics of the pandemic.
Months of confusing messaging, piled onto existing inequities, kneecapped America’s booster campaign before it had really started.
Well, that depends.
The United States could be in for a double whammy: a surge it cares to neither measure nor respond to.
The risks from over-boosting are very small.
After a stellar run in adult and teen trials, the vaccines are now trying to contend with Omicron, and the numbers show it.
Whenever it arrives, the next surge could put the country’s tolerance for disease and death in full relief.
At last, rapid COVID tests are everywhere—and that means a surge of false-negative results.
The successes and failures of annual flu-shot campaigns hold lessons for the future of COVID vaccines.
How bad will it be?
We’re tracking how the virus is changing over time. Why not monitor immunity too?
The effects of the first one may be fading. When will it be time for seniors to re-up?
Long COVID isn’t going away, and we still do not have a way to fully prevent it, cure it, or really to quantify it.
Here are four shapes that the next variant might take—which will also dictate the shape of our response.
The U.S. is nearing 1 million recorded COVID-19 deaths without the social reckoning that such a tragedy should provoke. Why?
Protections meant to shield everyone can’t be a matter of personal preference.
Cough? Test. Stuffiness? Test. Scratchy throat? Test.
The vaccines will need an update at some point. But not every variant of concern will warrant one.
With cases rising, more parents were having to isolate from their vulnerable newborns.
The virus isn’t done with us. So we need a new approach to dealing with it.
What does society owe immunocompromised people?
How to live with the uncertainty of not knowing what comes next
The clearest way to reduce deaths is to push to vaccinate more of the elderly—yes, still!
This next phase of the pandemic doesn’t have to be about what we can’t do.
Many direct-care workers are unsure about the COVID-19 vaccines, leaving the people who depend on their labor that much more vulnerable.
Authorizing two shots for little kids right now could be a double gamble.
A shot designed for Omicron can teach the immune system about Omicron. But it might not prepare us for whatever comes next.
The coronavirus will be with us forever. But we still have no idea what happens next.
The variant after Omicron could look very different from any yet.
But the older variant isn’t quite dead yet.
And what you still can’t
We still don’t know when exactly the shots are coming, but there’s reason to hope that vaccine makers’ current plans are on the right track.
The variant is spreading widely, but won’t necessarily give us strong protection from new infections.
Scientifically speaking, it’s gross.
Omicron is pushing hospitals to their limit, but the medical system still has an ethical responsibility to all patients—no matter the choices they make.
A long descent from a peak in cases could exact a larger toll than even Omicron’s blistering ascent.
We are far past the point of hoping that this variant will spare us.
Many supposedly “incidental” infections aren’t really incidental, and cannot be dismissed.
Third shots for adolescent boys and young men were already a hard sell. Then came Omicron.
The staggering number of infections among the vaccinated is changing Americans’ pandemic mindset.
If you’re vaccinated, boosted, and wearing an N95, you’re protected—no matter what others are doing.
Stay with me.
Omicron is inundating a health-care system that was already buckling under the cumulative toll of every previous surge.
If you’re confused by the CDC’s new isolation guidelines, you’re not the only one.
If you’re vaccinated, an infection might not make you super sick, but don’t count on it making you super immune, either.
With the surge in cases, tests should be reserved for those who need them most.
We probably will need additional shots. But just how many depends on our immune systems, the virus, and how often they collide.
Nobody wants to mandate business closures, but so many people are getting sick that businesses are closing anyway.
Many people are gathering for the holidays no matter what. Here’s how to do that as safely as possible.
The new variant seems to be our quickest one yet. That makes it harder to catch with the tests we have.
More data will soon be coming in. But how much do they really matter?
The CDC might update the definition very soon, even though we still don’t know for sure how many shots we’ll need.
The agency’s director has said, repeatedly, that schools without mask mandates have triple the risk of COVID outbreaks. That claim is based on very shaky science.
The new variant poses a far graver threat at the collective level than the individual one—the kind of test that the U.S. has repeatedly failed.
America is in for a lot more breakthrough infections. Here’s what to do if you fall sick.
We’ve broken down the chances of transmission at a gathering with one unvaccinated adult, multiple unvaccinated adults, and unvaccinated or semi-vaccinated kids.
The new variant may undermine some vaccine-derived defenses. But the immune system’s best assassins are likely to hold the line.