But the point to grok here is that just about every one of the models projects the drumbeat of daily deaths continuing all the way through the summer.

Which suggests that our new reality isn’t going to look like the world as it was in January. It’s going to be a world where people are dying from this virus every day. Where we constantly have to worry about localized outbreaks to keep the numbers even at a “manageable” level. And this manageable level is going to be so high that COVID-19 is likely to be—all on its own—the third-leading cause of death in America this year.

Imagine taking the list of ten leading causes of deaths in the United States and just adding—overnight—an entirely new one. Bigger than suicide. Bigger than traffic accidents. Bigger than Alzheimer’s. Because that’s the future we’re looking at.

With one key difference: Unlike heart disease or cancer, COVID-19 is infectious and has the capability of scaling up rapidly should we get unlucky again.