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Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.56 minutes to read.

“The next question now forming in the minds of scientists and veteran worriers everywhere: what will happen once the Delta variant has finished infecting whomever it will infect?… Will there be yet another wave of yet another variant, one that can evade the current vaccines?…

No one knows. I repeat: no one knows. No one can know. Which means even though we might be approaching an awkward start-stop, yes-no, relax-panic, “is it really over?” phase, we are stuck flying blind. Sorry…

Uncertainty abounds right now as it has for the entire pandemic. The only real certainty we have is this: the world’s herd will eventually become immune to the Delta variant one way (via vaccine) or another (through infection, disease and possible death). Humans can decide between the options but the virus has declared its intent.

As for what the world will look like post-Delta, that too remains uncertain. But Covid-19 looks increasingly like it’s here to stay. Much like the seasonal flu, we will probably have coronavirus outbreaks in the years ahead, with good years and bad years and better and worse vaccine boosters.”

Kent Sepkowitz, CNN medical analyst and a physician and infection control expert at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“A growing number of wealthy countries including Israel and Germany are now launching or making plans for Covid booster-shot initiatives for parts of their populations… That’s prompted the World Health Organization to call for a moratorium on top-up shots through September or until all countries are at least 10% vaccinated… The WHO has it right — the priority should be first vaccinations as long as supplies are limited and there’s a huge global disparity in protection.

Existing data suggests the vast majority of those who are vaccinated don’t need a booster yet. Rolling third doses out broadly at this point is an ethically questionable, potentially dangerous and ineffective way of fighting the pandemic…

The booster push is being fueled by the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant and evidence that it reduces vaccine protection that may already decline over time. But… they are holding up exceptionally well on the most crucial measures: protection against severe disease, death and hospitalization.

The data could eventually change, but most boosters are tough to justify at this point… Even if one ignores the moral question, boosters are an exceptionally inefficient way of stopping spread or cutting deaths given that the unvaccinated are the ones most prone to both of these things. It will take many more boosters to have the equivalent effect of even a small number of initial courses.”

Max Nisen, Bloomberg Opinion

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.48 minutes to read.

“Most of the media and political class are absorbed by the mask debate, but the Food and Drug Administration is keeping the focus where it should be: vaccines. On Thursday the agency was close to approving Covid-19 booster shots for immuno-compromised patients, and more people will need them soon…

Vaccine makers are working on booster shots to determine a formula that will confer the broadest and most robust immune response—again showing how private industry is leading the way. The FDA says it hopes to outline a strategy for administering booster shots for broader use next month. Great. The Biden Administration should let anyone who wants a booster get one.

While vaccines will likely remain highly protective against severe illness, no one wants to get symptoms resembling a bad flu as some breakthrough cases have experienced. Covid is never going away, and the best way to manage the virus is vaccinations. That has become even more clear as hospitalizations in parts of the U.S. return to levels at last summer’s peak…

The political media fight over masks is mostly a phony war. The evidence is that N-95 medical-grade masks can help reduce transmission at the margin, though the costs of masking young children seem higher than the benefits. In any case the Delta variant is still going to spread… Vaccines are the only way through the pandemic.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Ending a worldwide pandemic is bound to be a worldwide effort.

Several countries with effective vax rollouts have all but beaten COVID-19, but poorer nations in particular are still in the thick of it, putting the whole world at risk of renewed spread and increasing the odds that new variants will evolve that could render existing jabs less effective.

Which makes it prudent as well as decent for the United States, well on its way to jabbing 70 percent of the adult population, to share the vaccine love…

But getting to global vaccination will be tough… Meanwhile, the Delta strain (the variant first seen in India) has spread to at least 62 other countries, including some with plenty of vaccines… Global need for the highly effective vaccines developed under Team Trump’s Operation Warp Speed will grow higher still…

[The] bottom line… You’re likely to need a booster shot not just later this year, but again in 2022, and maybe for years to come. It’s a small inconvenience for the ability to live normally without fear.”

Editorial Board, New York Post