Expect life to return to normal in 3 stages — not all at once.
Once you and your friends are vaccinated, can you quit social distancing?
Now that the vaccines are arriving, people are starting to dream.
While many of us are thinking about the Covid-19 pandemic in binary terms — there's "life before I get the shot" and "life after I get the shot" — experts are cautioning us to think more gradually. Not everything will change the second that syringe enters your arm.
"Realistically, it's definitely not going to be an on/off switch on normal," said Eleanor Murray, a Boston University epidemiologist.
The best way to set realistic expectations around what life will look like in 2021 is to think of it in three stages. Stage 1 is what you can safely do once you and your close friends or family are vaccinated. Stage 2 is what you can safely do once your city or state has reached herd immunity, where enough people are protected against infection that the virus can't easily spark new outbreaks. Stage 3 is what you can do once herd immunity is reached internationally. (Note that there's a good chance we won't reach that last stage in 2021.)