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COVID-19 isn’t over, and the next wave may be worse

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With vaccines spreading through rich countries at gathering speed and lockdown restrictions weakening with the spring sunshine, it’s tempting to believe that the long nightmare of COVID-19 is finally ending.

In the U.K., 58% of the adult population has received at least one dose of vaccine. In the U.S., President Joe Biden has doubled an original goal of administering 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, which would bring the total to 200 million by the end of April. On Google, the search term “after COVID” has been getting more interest than “COVID symptoms” for the past month, suggesting the world is thinking more about what life will be like when things return to normal.

That’s a mistake. While we’re increasingly talking about the coronavirus in the past tense, the worst may still be ahead of us. Infections worldwide rose 47% during March from a lull in late February. At about 600,000 new cases a day, the rate today is higher than it was for most of last year.

Worse still, while previous waves have broken primarily in Western Europe and the U.S., many of the areas where COVID-19 is now growing most rapidly are in South America and South Asia, the Middle East and other emerging economies. Mostly lacking the first-class public health infrastructure found in the global north,........

© The Japan Times

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