The shortest timeframe that has been proposed for a vaccine is 12 to 18 months. That means that one will not be available until the summer of 2021, so shutdowns may continue well into next year. It is a reality that we all need to be prepared to deal with immediately.
Many public health experts are concerned that a vaccine may not come for years, or may not come at all. If this is the case and it is here with us to stay, then we need to be prepared for our lives to change dramatically, permanently.
While waiting for a vaccine, the most important thing that states can do is implement rigorous testing programs that will trace infections to the source to contain outbreaks. Employees will need to be tested before they can come back to work.
When those employees return to work, they will need both childcare and the assurance that they can work safely. So states all across the country have a long way to go before their economies can safely reopen without risking another wave of infections, which could be much more deadly than the first one.