The Pandemic Is Almost Over

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • Optimistic take – the pandemic may be over in a few months, not just from running through the population and because we have vaccines, but three legit treatments that’ll keep people from ever being hospitalized once they test positive. Fluvoximine is a cheap and readily available anti-depressant. The Merck transcriptase inhibitor molnupiravir are really good. And the Pfizer protease inhibitor – “the first small molecule trial results from a compound that was explicitly aimed at a SAR-CoV-2 protein” – are incredible, too, reducing hospitalizations 90% in a trial and deaths by 100%.

    We don’t know pricing yet from Pfizer but they’ve made some nods towards affordability, the Merck pill would be offered cheaply in developing countries, and fluvoximine is already more or less accessible. And they may even work as a cocktail, reducing changes of a resistant strain. (The Merck compound is unlikely to face this issue in any case.)

  • Filmmaker whose cash was stolen by the DEA at a TSA checkpoint got all his money back plus legal fees. It took eight months.

  • People around the world who’ve taken the Sputnik and CanSino vaccines are scurrying to get re-vaccinated in order to visit the U.S.. The U.S. will accept the largely ineffective SinoVac CoronaVac (which the World Health Organization says shows no evidence of reduction in infection or transmission, but reduced symtomatic infection by 51% in a messy trial before the Delta variant).

  • The Pete Buttigieg slush fund included in the infrastructure bill

  • Keep Checking IHG Award Prices for Price Drops, Then Rebook or use Free Night Certificates once Marriott goes ‘dynamic’ for award pricing in March they’ll be adjusting prices of room nights more frequently, too, and you’ll need to keep repricing those as well.

  • Just a coincidence that advertising for the new American Airlines outsourced curbside check-in fee is in Spirit Airlines yellow?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not that fast maybe but we may be moving in the right direction. There needs to be a clear plan for what to do afterwards as this virus is going to be around forever. Probably some precautions while just getting used to its presence, with natural immunity building up in the population over maybe a century or so. The AIDS situation might be something of a template here for acceptance of this bad factor. Both situations were met with crazy fear at first,. I don’t know, maybe Westerners got too complacent, safe in their clean worlds and certainty of their “control” of nature, so the first disease in a long time that really spread and made people very sick led to panic. But people can’t live like that forever.

  2. If you are right, then indeed COVID will not be much worse than a cold, and will be much less of a threat than the flu. If you can take a pill after the onset of symptoms and not die, I think even the bulk of the most hardened vaccine skeptics will be willing to save their lives. And the immune compromised will be able to live fully again, not concerned about contact with those spreading disease. At that point, anyone who wants to live will be able to, and we can get back to normal. Can’t happen soon enough. If these treatments truly work, then a massive global production and distribution effort will be the top priority.

  3. And yet the state of the country is WORSE now that when these geniuses took over. Maybe you should explain to me how they’re “fixing” anything, besides their own bank accounts. I also hate to break it to you but most of the country believes the same, which is why the people who you laughably think are smart are getting devastated in the next election, just like in Virginia. Now, go back to your evening with your jar of peanut butter and german shepherd.

  4. Gratuitous trope of slush fund a real false equivalency for the fund described in the WaPo article Not Funny and off brand for you, I would hope!

  5. I heard Joe is Pete’s secret gay lover. Could be true, who knows! Ask Sean Hannity, he’ll tell you!

  6. Be vary wary of the fluvoxamine study. There is not a clear mechanism of action to why it could work. Results show a little help but not much. There also is no difference in the death rate versus not using it.

    As far as the pandemic being over, not so fast. When the pandemic is over, the epidemic will replace it. It is not even endemic yet. So pandemic over does not mean the end of vaccination drives and masks. There is a lot of bad behavior among unvaccinated and vaccinated.

  7. Gary, with all do respect the pandemic essentially ended with the availability of the ivermectin/Clorox cocktail

  8. For all the treatments to matter, we need to work on testing speed. Most of these treatments work best if given early. Pols and celebs can get tested quickly but for average people its a crapshoot. Maybe they have mild symptoms and are not sure its corona so they dont want to sit in an Urgent care waiting room 3 hours, find out they dont have it, but catch it in the process. Then when it gets worse maybe its a friday night and they cant arrange to be tested until they get to an urgent care on saturday or their rural doctor they trust on monday. Then maybe the test they get Monday takes 3-5 days for a results because they were not sophisticated enough to know to call around for a faster test. Also, some insurance will only cover pcr not antigen tests so maybe they go to a place that says rapid testing but its rapid antigen not rapid pcr and after decoding insurance they wait until friday close of business for results, and then next monday to get a doctor appointment for the treatment, 10 days after they got sick. If we want treatments to be effective, we need better systems to assure average unsophisticated unconnected people can go from symptom to test to result to treatment quickly, even on a weekend. 3-5 day tests are killing people, yet they are still legal, a basic economy flight to preventable death.

  9. Meanwhile out in states around the rockies they are at all time record highs of covid cases. Too many unvaccinated people out there and natural immunity is already starting to wane. Hopefully the surges we see this winter are less severe, but to say the pandemic is almost over is just more nonsense being spouted. The holiday season will bring additional surges. Just look at Europe where cases are surging yet again.

  10. COVID is forever. The ‘pandemic’ may get declared ‘over’ in a few years but the new normal is here to stay for the rest of your lives.
    Masks, vaccine passports, tests, yearly coerced injections, temporarily closed becoming permanently closed, social distancing, COVID News Network, and hate your neighbor and report him to the FBI, etc. etc. etc.. They love it and can’t let it go.

  11. Billy Bob is right. There may be an end to the Pandemic but there is no “Post Covid” so it’s all in how we address our freedoms or ending of freedoms in some cases. I’m all for being vaccinated but eventually, we’ll see some side effects from all these medications.

  12. When both vaccines and treatments available, people who don’t want to die of COVID won’t do so in any significant numbers. There won’t need to be any public policy restrictions since those still dying will be volunteers who made bad choices and the numbers won’t be huge. Up to now we’ve had to be concerned about the immune compromised, the kids to a lesser extent, and those in many parts of the world who have not yet had access to vaccines. @Marc is right about the logistical testing mess that needs to be dealt with seriously and effectively in order to get full value from the treatments. Many other diseases are still around and perhaps always will be, but do not affect our lives in any meaningful way. COVID can and will likely be the same.

  13. There’s mild chatter about a 4th potential Stimulus check going to the American people before the pandemic is over.

  14. There are also 2 New potential Covid treatments from Canada. One is an antidepressant drugs which is already widely available and only costs $5 for the whole 5 days treatment. It shows very promising result of treating covid infections. It’s now at it’s final phase of testing and once it’s presented to Canada’s CDC for approval, it could be one of the most promising and cost effective covid treatments.
    The other is a nasal spray which in effect would kill most covid virus that pass through our nasals into our lung. It’s also near the final phase of testing.
    These two will be available in Canada once it’s been approved, then later on available to the rest of the world.
    If all these potential treatment really work, or a cocktail of these, then we can really see the end of the pandemic, and a new phase of endemic, then before the end of next year, this covid will just become another influenza virus,and should be taken care of by an annual flu shot, which would mix the regular flu shot with the covid vaccine.
    Yes, we can really see the light at the end of the tunnel, folks…. Be patient, hang in there, get your vaccine shot asap. So you got to be able to live to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  15. We need to visualize being at the end of the pandemic before we can actually be there. Be positive folks—Mainstream Media, government bureaucrats and many elected “leaders” will need to find something else to scare us into submissive behavior.
    BTW, there is a very good talk from Elon Musk’s former wife. The power of positive thinking.

  16. @ DaveS. . “Up to now we’ve had to be concerned about the immune compromised, the kids to a lesser extent, and those in many parts of the world who have not yet had access to vaccines”
    I don’t know what planet you’re on but from what I’ve seen and experienced there was NO focused plan . . . CDC/WHO measured with a micrometer, marked with a grease pencil and cut with an axe.
    They wasted time and resources by including EVERYBODY and scaring EVERYBODY when in reality only those with BMI over 30 and underlying health conditions, or both, Vitamin D deficient and over 65 should have been the main focus. They chose to ignore the cruise ship petri dish.

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