The Millions of People Stuck in Pandemic Limbo

Ed Yong in The Atlantic:

Close to 3 percent of U.S. adults take immunosuppressive drugs, either to treat cancers or autoimmune disorders or to stop their body from rejecting transplanted organs or stem cells. That makes at least 7 million immunocompromised people—a number that’s already larger than the populations of 36 states, without even including the millions more who have diseases that also hamper immunity, such as AIDS and at least 450 genetic disorders.

In the past, immunocompromised people lived with their higher risk of infection, but COVID represents a new threat that, for many, has further jeopardized their ability to be part of the world. From the very start of the pandemic, some commentators have floated the idea “that we can protect the vulnerable and everyone else can go on with their lives,” Seth Trueger, who is on immunosuppressants for an autoimmune complication of cancer, told me. “How’s that supposed to work?”

More here.