COVID-19 vaccines are about as effective as a single technological solution to a major threat can be — and our struggles to adopt and distribute the shots demonstrate their limits.
Why it matters: The pandemic is just one of many global challenges we’ll face in the years ahead, but technofixes alone can’t save us without a supportive social and political structure.
The big picture: Amid rising concern about the Delta variant’s rapid spread and greatly increased infectiousness, it’s worth remembering just how far we’ve come since the start of 2021.
- In early January, the U.S. was averaging around 250,000 new COVID-19 cases every day, and more than 3,000 people a day were dying.
- Our only ability to slow the spread involved socially and economically cumbersome strategies like shutdowns, social distancing and ubiquitous masking — little different from how we would have fought a pandemic a century ago.
Fast forward to August. Even with the Delta surge, cases…