How Pandemics End: Learning the Lessons of History

A nurse prepares to enter the sub-intensive care unit of the San Filippo Neri hospital in Rome, Italy, Oct. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).
A nurse prepares to enter the sub-intensive care unit of the San Filippo Neri hospital in Rome, Italy, Oct. 29, 2020 (AP photo by Alessandra Tarantino).
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The COVID-19 pandemic has made everyone much better versed in basic epidemiological modeling than they were eight months ago. We have all familiarized ourselves with exhaustive data collection and the analysis of epidemic curves based on prior crises, the reproduction rates of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the daily influx of new cases. Yet, even for professional epidemiologists, the question of when this pandemic will end has no simple answer. Certainty is a luxury rarely afforded to scientists, and this is particularly true in the world of public health. However, we do know that pandemics do not attack indiscriminately. While we […]

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