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Moderna CEO predicts pandemic ends in one year; FDA chief says ‘long way’ before kids can unmask at school

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The COVID-19 pandemic could end sometime in 2022, a top pharmaceutical executive has implied, apparently as long as everyone across the globe gets the jab.

“If you look at the industry-wide expansion of production capacities over the past six months, enough doses should be available by the middle of next year so that everyone on this earth can be vaccinated. Boosters should also be possible to the extent required,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel told a Swiss newspaper, according to Reuters.

As far as a timetable for a return to normalcy as he sees it, Bancel appears to hedge to some degree, noting that, “As of today, in a year, I assume.”

“Those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the Delta variant is so contagious. In this way we will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu. You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in the hospital,” he added. A vaccine is on the way even for toddlers, he added.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and free.”

In a March 2021 report, the CDC admitted that “Obesity increases the risk for severe COVID-19–associated illness.”

As alluded to above, the Moderna exec also seemed to endorse so-called booster shots for some at-risk persons who need a “refresher.” With that in mind, he noted that “Delta-optimized variants” are undergoing clinical trials, at half the original COVID dosage, plus another one for the “next mutation.”

On Wednesday, the U.S Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer booster shots for people above the age of 65 or who are at high risk.

Along with Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson, Moderna is also one of the Big Pharma firms that makes a U.S.-approved COVID vaccine.

The state of Vermont, where about 90 percent of the population is vaccinated, is experiencing an uptick in cases. Officials say unvaccinated persons are driving this scenario. COVID is also surging in the highly vaccinated state of Israel.

In addition to rules that may apply in the public sector and in other settings, the Biden administration intends to promulgate a vaccine mandate for private sector businesses with 100 employees.

According to independent journalist Sharyl Attkisson, a former CBS News investigative correspondent, “[P]ublic health officials are grappling with the reality of an increasing number of fully-vaccinated Americans coming down with Covid-19 infections, getting hospitalized, and even dying of Covid. The [CDC] insists vaccination is still the best course for every eligible American. But many are asking if they have better immunity after they’re infected with the virus and recover, than if they’re vaccinated.”

Over time, the CDC has modified its definition of vaccination from initially disease prevention, and then later disease immunization, to now disease protection.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, FDA commissioner under President Trump who now reportedly sits on Pfizer’s board, told CNN this week that COVID is “ripping through” some areas and that he expects lots of COVID cases this winter because “this is a winter pathogen.”

He asserted that the country could reach the general mask-optional stage if cases drop to 20 per 100,000 people per day. “But we’re a long way from that.”

Vaccination of kids is the way forward for eliminating mask requirements, he said. Gottlieb also advocated keeping school children in “defined social pods.”

According to a New York magazine article about a study in the Georgia school system, “Distancing, hybrid models, classroom barriers, HEPA filters, and, most notably, requiring student masking were each found to not have a statistically significant benefit. In other words, these measures could not be said to be effective.”

Robert Jonathan

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