Forget the ‘beginning of the end’, Covid is a permawar

Forget the ‘beginning of the end’, Covid is a permawar

Despite the crop of vaccines, the healthcare industry expects to fight coronavirus for years

San Francisco usually experiences an eerie change in January. The city’s casually dressed residents are suddenly infiltrated by thousands of suits, delegates at the annual JPMorgan healthcare conference.

This year the conference was held online but the dissonance remained. In the real world, politicians assure us that vaccines herald the beginning of the end of the pandemic. We can hope to see relatives soon. Summer holiday bookings in Europe have surged.

Yet in the virtual world of the conference, the healthcare industry was preparing for an enduring war on Covid. “We do believe more so than we did, let’s say four to six months ago, that there will be a level of testing that will continue certainly through FY ’22,” said Tom Polen, chief executive of Becton Dickinson, the New Jersey-based manufacturer of syringes and tests.