American COVID-19 pandemic with fewer than 12,000 new cases a day and a total of 15,000 patients in the hospital. There was a declaration of independence from the virus on July 4, just as the Delta variant was starting its exponential growth. A major surge ensued, which was followed by yet another one with the Omicron variant, peaking with nearly 160,000 people hospitalized and almost 2,700 deaths per day — the most deaths since vaccinations became widely available.

Even now, as we are descending from the Omicron wave, we still have more than 60,000 patients in the hospital and more than 2,000 deaths per day.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is still with us and is adroit at finding new ways to infect us at scale. As it evolved from the original strain in late 2019, and progressed to the Alpha and Delta variants, it became more virulent and infectious, not less. There is a misconception that the virus is destined to evolve to a more benign form. If we’ve learned anything from the pandemic, it’s that the virus has an extraordinary ability to adapt — and it is unpredictable.

Read the full article in The Los Angeles Times.