State Says Louisiana ‘Phasing’ Period Ends Once Vaccine Is Ready
This Friday, the "Stay at Home" Order issued by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards will be allowed to expire, and will be replaced by a "Phase One" order. The "Phase One" will be Louisiana's version of the White House guidelines for reopening, with there being differences in businesses allowed to reopen, and maybe the biggest different being the length for Louisiana's Phases, which will be three weeks, instead of the White House's two weeks.
The state has put together a website to help businesses prepare for the "phases" of reopening in Louisiana. That website is OpenSafely.la.gov, and is live now.
Sadly, the content of the site is not available to the public. In order to see the content provided by the state, you must sign up a business for reopening. If you are able to access the information, business owners can find very limited notes for upcoming phases, included limited details on Phases Two and Three. But the final line in the form sent to businesses is catching some attention.
After the limited details on Phase Two and Phase Three are listed, the state adds a line that reads:
"PHASING PERIOD ENDS once a vaccine is discovered and is made widely available."
It appears this line indicates that the gating criteria for the phases will remain, even after the timeline for Phase Three expires, until a vaccine is "widely available". If that is the case, if the state were to slip on the gating criteria, the Governor could move the state back to Phase Zero, or Phase One.
The problem with this, is that a vaccine is not guaranteed.
Over the last few decades, work has happened around the world to find vaccines for HIV, Malaria, Hookworm, and other diseases. But none of these have found a vaccine yet. In fact, coronavirus vaccines have already been under construction for over a decade.
Since 2003, work on a SARS-Covid-1 vaccine has been underway. But in the last 17 years, there haven't been enough substantial breakthroughs to get a vaccine onto the market. That research was already in place as a foundation for SARS-Covid-2, or COVID-19, vaccine work.
Even though some have suggested a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready in 12-18 months, that's not likely. The process to create a vaccine is normally one that takes a decade, if not more. The 12-18 month timeline would be "unprecedented" in the vaccine world.
The drug company Moderna has recently received a "fast track" designation from the US Food and Drug Administration, but that doesn't mean a vaccine is eminent. Even with the "fast track", Moderna isn't even planning for a "marketing application" until 2021 at the earliest, and that's if everything between then and now works.
Other companies like Johnson & Johnson, Phizer, GlaxoSmithKline, and roughly 20 other major corporations are working on vaccines as well. While other companies are working on treatments for patients.
Almost right away, the 12-18 month timeline for a vaccine caught some experts by surprise, with some even calling it "ridiculously optimistic".
Based on what the world has seen throughout history with vaccines, and what experts like Dr. Peter Hotez say, the timeline for a vaccine is more likely to include 2022, all the way to 2025, instead of being available in 2021.