When Will the Pandemic End? 26 Science Reporters and Communicators Respond

A word cloud in which the most prominent words are pandemic, will, end, people, vaccinate, COVID-19, world, endemic.Betsy Ladyzhets

 

It’s been about a year since I started the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, a newsletter and blog about tracking the pandemic. In that time, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what I would do when COVID-19 was “over”—a question that I never knew how to answer. While there may be benchmarks that public health experts can use to declare the pandemic at an end, this end feels more complex for science writers like myself who have been intensely covering the COVID-19 crisis.

To address the question, I surveyed 26 other COVID-19 reporters and communicators. I asked when they thought the pandemic might come to an end, as well as how they would take lessons from the past year into the “post-COVID” stages of their careers.

Their answers ranged from specific metrics (eg. 70 percent of the world vaccinated) to more nuanced statements reflecting the immense disparities in the pandemic’s impact—for example, pointing to immunocompromised people for whom the vaccines may not be effective, long-haulers still suffering from symptoms, and the inequities between the U.S. and the many nations with little access to vaccines.

To read the full responses from each science writer, click on the images below. For more reflection on the survey project, see this post at the COVID-19 Data Dispatch.


 

Betsy LadyzhetsCourtesy of Betsy Ladyzhets

Betsy Ladyzhets

Betsy Ladyzhets is an independent data journalist and science writer based in Brooklyn, New York. She runs the COVID-19 Data Dispatch, a publication providing news and resources on tracking the pandemic. Her work has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Science News, and other publications. Follow her on Twitter @betsyladyzhets.