A record number of new COVID-19 infections fill hospitals and morgues across the country just days before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the first coronavirus vaccine for emergency use. But there is a perverse glimmer of hope to this deadly spike in infections: Every American who catches and recovers from COVID has a chance to retain some degree of immunity for months, if not years, all without it. using a vaccine that is expensive and difficult to distribute.
These millions of former COVID patients and their persistent antibodies and T cells could contribute to population-level immunity that could signal the end of the current pandemic. In a strange and tragic way, America’s massive failure to slow COVID infections co-pre-vaccineuld would actually help speed up post-vaccine immunization efforts by reducing, potentially by tens of millions, the number of Americans who need vaccines.
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