There’s a growing consensus among health experts: Covid-19 may never go away. We’ll likely always have some coronavirus out there, infecting people and, hopefully only in rare cases, getting them seriously ill. The realistic goal is to defang the virus — make it less deadly — not eliminate it entirely.

This is not a surrender to the virus. For a long time, we’ve lived with the seasonal flu, a family of viruses that kills up to tens of thousands of Americans each year. While we can and should take steps to mitigate the risks of the flu (including getting vaccinated for it every year), we’ve never been willing to shut down society or close in-person schooling to fully eradicate it. Americans have accepted some level of risk to continue living normally.

The same will likely be true with Covid-19. The highly transmissible delta variant appears to have cemented this possibility, showing the coronavirus will continue to spread even in states and countries with higher vaccination rates.