I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I breathed a sigh of relief at the much ballyhooed arrival of COVID-19 vaccines at the end of 2020. We’re in the midst of a dark and grief-stricken pandemic winter, and the sooner the vaccine gets us to herd immunity—and, pray, a semblance of normalcy—the better. But the well-worn trope that life is a journey, and not a destination, has an epidemiological application as well. As of this writing, the U.S. just suffered a record-breaking day of thousands of fatalities caused by the novel coronavirus. So in the interim months while most Americans wait their chance to be vaccinated, our goal certainly must be to minimize deaths from COVID-19. In this issue’s cover story, Charles Schmidt takes a comprehensive look at the latest developments in clinical treatments for COVID-19 infection, many of which still need research to bolster their effectiveness (see “These Drugs Might Prevent Severe COVID”).
Elsewhere on the virus beat, restrictions that have been implemented to combat the coronavirus are having a drastic impact on flu and cold rates across the globe, offering up some telling evidence for public health researchers (see “How COVID-19 Is Changing the Cold and Flu Season”). The science of viruses and human illness is ever evolving. In the case of the global pandemic, the question isn’t when will we arrive at the end but how.