Right now, US COVID case counts are done to early Fall levels. We have a lot of good news on the vaccine front.
Three weeks ago, I announced we would have enough vaccine supply for all Americans by the end of July.
Now, with our efforts to ramp up production, we will have enough vaccines for every American by the end of May.
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 2, 2021
We are starting to see a drop in deaths due to vaccination of the most at risk populations.
We have a significant risk of variants leading to immune evasion and vaccine efficacy reduction. Variants are more likely to occur and if they do occur, more likely to be widespread if there is a high background level of spread and infection.
We have a major COVID relief bill likely to be signed in the next ten days.
We have states that want to YOLO it.
As Texas and Mississippi move to open "100%" and lift mask mandates, health officials warn: "It’s still too early." https://t.co/4Mn3JyJOeG
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) March 3, 2021
We have an asymmetry of risk. A state re-opening too early by a week has far more consequences than a state re-opening a week too late. A state re-opening too early will marginally increase the risk of variant spread and variant emergence. That risk is not limited to only the state or only the people in the state whose behavior changes. It could generate large and negative externalities. And if there is an increase in cases, the return of normal commerce won’t happen as people are mostly following relative risk instead of public policy. A state that re-opens a week too late may have some small and mostly internalized costs but they are not generating negative public health externalities.