The New York Times asked700 epidemiologists to describe their COVID-19 habits, how their thinking has changed since the pandemic began, and when they think it will be safe for normal life to resume. Dismayingly, several answered that last question with a resounding never.
“I expect that wearing a mask will become part of my daily life, moving forward, even after a vaccine is deployed,” Amy Hobbs, a research associate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told The Times.
Marilyn Tseng, an assistant professor at California Polytechnic State University, said life would never revert to the way it was, though the preventative measures currently practiced—masks and social distancing—will feel “normal” in time. Similarly, Vasily Vlassov, a professor at HSE University in Moscow, said life was perfectly normal now because this is the new normal.
Others disagreed. Michael Webster-Clark of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said he expected “further relaxation of most precautions by mid-to-late summer 2021″ following widespread availability of the vaccine. Some epidemiologists said their own risk aversion would decrease after they were vaccinated, but many said they would remain just as cautious until”80 percent or more” of the entire population had received the vaccine.