Reports of two promising covid-19 vaccines don’t mean we ‘magically,’ quickly return to normal

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The return to many of our old familiar ways will take time, and how much time remains unclear. The answers await more research into the vaccines, how they can be distributed and how many people are willing to get them.”A vaccine won’t be available immediately for everybody,” says Arthur Reingold, a professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. He also chairs California’s COVID-19 Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which will evaluate the safety and efficacy of covid-19 vaccines.“It probably will take four to six months,” he says. “What that says to me is that people will have to keep wearing masks at least until spring. We won’t be in a magically different situation by February or March. I don’t see how that can possibly happen.”Equally important are the unknowns about the vaccines themselves. Scientists still don’t know how long vaccine-induced protection will last, for example, or whether inoculations can block actual infection, or only prevent the onset of disease. If the latter turns out to be the case, meaning the vaccines keep us from getting sick, but not infected, we still could be infectious to others. Until …

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