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January 30, 2021, marked the first anniversary of the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Thus far, the world has been no match for SARS-CoV-2, with more than 100 million cases and 2.5 million deaths. The US has been among the world’s poorest performers in addressing the pandemic, with more than 500 000 deaths.
Vaccines offer the best chance of returning to normal, but circulating variants pose a major obstacle, particularly the emergence of variants that are more transmissible and are developing partial resistance to vaccines against SARS-CoV-2. With rampant global circulation, SARS-CoV-2 will have ample opportunity to mutate further.
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Correction: This article was corrected on February 16, 2021, to add the fourth sentence to the second paragraph in “The Collapse of Global Solidarity” section.
Corresponding Author: Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, Georgetown University Law Center, 600 New Jersey Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.
Previous Publication: This article was previously published in JAMA Health Forum at jamahealthforum.com.
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