It’s strange how progress against the disease has been so slow *except* in the one branch of medicine that might actually eradicate it, where it’s progressing at a breakneck rate. After nearly two months of firsthand observation, U.S. doctors still don’t know why some people develop severe cases while others develop mild ones or why some regions have ferocious outbreaks while others are barely touched. There’s no proven effective treatment except remdesivir, and early indications are that the effect from that drug is mild. Despite nearly two months of social distancing the number of daily deaths nationally is flat and we continue to see new infections at a clip of 30,000 per day. We’re in the soup.
Except that there are a dizzying array of vaccine candidates racing along in development. And the timeline for when one might be widely available seems to be getting shorter in experts’ estimation, not longer.
Case in point, here’s Scott Gottlieb yesterday on “Face the Nation.” Gottlieb isn’t sanguine about the disease or our toolbox for treating it, but he seems pretty confident that millions of doses of a vaccine will be circulating this fall — not enough to immunize the entire population but enough to deploy to a city on an emergency basis if need be, to stamp out an outbreak that’s raging there.