How much will America accept to live with the pandemic?
I have a poll, but let me explain it first.
Right now the COVID-19 virus seems to be ebbing in many nations. Total infections and deaths since 2020 keep growing (420,908,184 cases and 5,869,200 dead worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins) but the gigantic Delta and Omicron waves are subsiding. Here, for example, are how the most infected nations are faring, according to 91-DIVOC:
That downward slope is great to see and experience.
Hospitalizations and deaths lag, of course, but seem to have stopped rising, and instead hit something like an oscillating plateau:
If no new infectious waves washes through us, we can expect the deaths to gradually drop.
These new developments are inspiring all kinds of calls for societies to “open up” — to end masking, stop pretending to care about social distancing, and get back to the interpersonal activities we did before COVID hit. To resume the economy of fall 2019. To get those haircuts and hit the bars without dread or guilt.
At the same time nobody seriously thinks we’re going to utterly erase COVID-19 from civilization in the near term. Instead, we’re hazily expecting some measure of losses: of hospitalizations, sickness, deaths, and long COVID. We’re starting to rethink cost/benefit as a cold, macro level.
Which brings me to the poll. Let’s focus on the United States for now, where we have had 78,060,327 infections and endured 926,497 deaths, according to the CDC, whose numbers tend to be conservative. Let’s assume COVID doesn’t disappear, but continues circulating through the population, doing some amount of damage.
How much human damage will we come to terms with, in order to re-open?
I’ll narrow it down to a single number for clarity’s sake. How many COVID dead will be accept as the price to pay for a post-pandemic society?