The United States is rendering an uncontrolled experiment with every strategy all at once, with COVID-19 policies differing wildly by state, county, university, workplace and school district, The Atlantic has reported.
"We're sleepwalking into policy because we're not setting goals," Joseph Allen, a Harvard professor of public health, was quoted as saying.
The goal of the country kept shifting, said the report, noting that the Biden administration floated booster doses for everyone to combat the pandemic, while an advisory panel of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) limited them to the elderly and immunocompromised most at risk for hospitalizations, and then the CDC director overruled the panel to include people with jobs that are at risk of infection.
Even if the Americans reach the so-called "endemicity," when nearly everyone has baseline immunity from either infection or vaccination, the country could be facing tens of millions of infections from the pandemic every year, thanks to the waning immunity and evolution of the virus, according to the report.
"The path ahead is not just unclear; it's nonexistent. We are meandering around the woods because we don't know where to go," it said, referring to a series of hard questions related to the pandemic facing the country.