haseltine11_Philipp von Ditfurthpicture alliance via Getty Images_coviddrug Philipp von Ditfurth/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Virus Is Still Winning

Despite the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to reduce mortality, the elderly, the immunocompromised, and other vulnerable populations remain at risk of severe infection. Worse, some SARS-CoV-2 strains are only a mutation or two away from a leap in lethality.

BOSTON – Once again, COVID-19 is rampaging unchecked through the US population, because there are no longer any public-health measures in place to protect adequately against infection. I myself have taken extraordinary precautions to avoid infection for the last two and a half years, because I met three of the qualifications for severe COVID-19: I am 77 years old; I am a cancer survivor; and for the past 40 years I have been treated for a chronic inflammatory condition that leaves me moderately immunocompromised.

Luckily, I had the privilege of being able to sequester myself in my country home, where I could control my personal interactions. I was vaccinated within weeks of vaccines becoming available, and I have received boosters every three to four months since. Moreover, I was given Evusheld, a monoclonal antibody treatment, four weeks ago.

Yet, toward the end of May, after many months of seclusion, I permitted myself one social occasion – a fundraising event with about 100 people in attendance. Four days later, in bed with a fever, cough, and malaise, I tested positive for COVID-19. Even with multiple vaccinations and Evusheld, I was not protected.

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