As of April 26, there have been 2,971,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide. Of those cases, 965,783 are from the United States (U.S.), while 54,881 deaths have occurred in the country due to the virus. As the pandemic wears on and these numbers increase by day, it has become clear that a vaccine for the virus is eminently important.
In order to try to prevent the spread of the virus, there have been vast stay-at-home orders imposed in cities, counties, and states throughout the U.S. Roughly 95 percent of the population in the United States is currently under a stay-at-home order. Despite the fact that confirmed cases in the United States are continuing to grow at around 20,000-30,000 per day, some governors have decided to begin reopening their states.
While the country tries to prevent the further spread of the virus, efforts are also being made to eliminate it with the development of a vaccine. There is a global push to find and develop a vaccine for COVID-19, and there has been an unprecedented sharing of research and technology across countries. These advanced efforts to develop a vaccine have seen human trials already begin in the United States and in other countries.
Despite the wide-ranged effort that is taking place to find a vaccine, estimates on when one could be developed vary widely. Some sources say that one could be found and distributed as early as this September, while others say that even the 12- to 18-month vaccine goal of U.S. leaders is unrealistic.
Even though there is a strong push to start reopening states and communities in order to get the economy started again, the truth is that without a vaccine or cure it will be extremely difficult to achieve this. This is in part due to the lack of testing and contact tracing currently taking place in the United States, which are crucial steps in determining where the virus is located and containing it.
With a vaccine for COVID-19 likely at least 12 to 18 months away and testing in the United States, while ramping up, still not enough according to many experts, it is important to be realistic about possible realities we could be facing. The future is uncertain, and it is best not to jump to conclusions, but it is important to keep in mind some of the real possibilities that we can encounter in the upcoming months.
Just last week, Cal State Fullerton announced that it would begin fall 2020 classes online. While this is uncomfortable to think about, there is a real chance that other universities could follow suit in the coming months. The UC system is currently in discussion regarding the fate of fall 2020 classes at UCSB, which means that the search for a cure could have immediate and significant effects on our small haven of UCSB.