“As more and more people gain immunity from infection and vaccination, there will be more pressure for SARS-CoV-2 to find its next host by evading immune defenses. It’s not hard to envision an eternal cat-and-mouse game in which reinfections are a commonplace event for all of us, and trying to avoid them will involve either a cycle of ever-shifting boosters, or acceptance that most 3rd, 4th or 5th SARS-CoV-2 infections will be mild enough to deal with.
The inconvenient truth is that neither natural immunity nor vaccines are likely to protect well enough, long enough, to shift this disease from pandemic to endemic and have it look the way most of us would prefer: partying like it’s 2019, and free of worry about hospital capacity. That, unfortunately, is probably a fantasy in the immediate future. So, too, is the idea that if we could only convince a few more stubborn vaccine hold-outs to get one set of shots that this will all be over and New Zealand can open its borders.
No, the way forward is going to be choppier than that. The “Covid long game” will involve uncertainty, surprises, and many hard choices, both for individuals and society as a whole. I hope we can be honest with ourselves as we make them.”