New York Times, May 15, 2021, Claire Cain  Miller

723 Epidemiologists on When and How the U.S. Can Fully Return to Normal

Government mandates are lifting, but these experts say the pandemic won’t really end nationally until more people, including children, are vaccinated.

Covid-19 cases are decreasing in the United States, and masks are no longer required everywhere, but the pandemic is not over — and won’t be until younger children can also be vaccinated, epidemiologists said in a new survey by The New York Times.

The true end of the pandemic — when it becomes safer to return to most activities without precautions — will arrive once at least 70 percent of Americans of all ages are vaccinated, they said. Adolescents just began receiving vaccines this week, and those for children younger than 12 are not yet approved.

“Children are key to ending the pandemic,” said David Celentano, the chair of epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University and one of the 723 epidemiologists who participated in the survey this month.

They are optimistic this will happen, even if not as quickly as many Americans hope. In five years, they expect Covid-19 will be more like the flu, circulating at a lower rate and with some deaths every year — but no longer a public health crisis necessitating lockdowns.

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