What our COVID world might look like over the next year

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Credit: Mike Reddy/STAT

Now — with health authorities saying it may not be until at least the end of 2021 before there’s a degree of post-Covid normalcy in our lives — look forward. Imagine the next 15 months and what life will be like.

In this project, STAT describes 30 key moments, possible turning points that could steer the pandemic onto a different course or barometers for how the virus is reshaping our lives, from rituals like Halloween and the Super Bowl, to what school could look like, to just how long we might be incorporating precautions into our routines.

This road map is informed by insights from more than three dozen experts, including Anthony Fauci and Bill Gates.

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So many challenges still lie ahead. Flu season. An ongoing child care quandary. A tumultuous election and potential transition of power. Whoever wins, we’ll need them to shepherd a vaccine rollout — a logistical and public relations campaign without (here’s that word again) precedent.

“The virus is not through with us yet,” said family physician and epidemiologist Camara Phyllis Jones of Morehouse School of Medicine. “The virus has only one job. And that’s to replicate itself, and to go from person to person to person — and it doesn’t care which person.”

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