Researchers are on the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine to eliminate the need for mask wearing and current limits on interpersonal gatherings (except protests), but a new model says it still may not help the world exit a lingering economic depression.

The computer estimate claims that that a COVID-19 vaccine will have to be at least 80 percent effective - which is bordering on impossible for a virus in the same family as the common cold that had mutations in different regions already. The flu vaccine, for example, is effective about 70 percent of the time, which is enough to prevent a pandemic and why flu deaths each year are a third of what COVID-19 has caused in the US, but not enough to extinguish the ongoing problem with SARS-CoV-2.

And if people are as casual about getting a COVID-19 shot like they are the flu, it's even worse. If only 60 percent of the population gets vaccinated, it would need to be 100 percent effective. And that is not going to happen. 

Numerous candidates are under study, and governments have decided to remove onerous regulatory roadblocks to spur innovation, which would be a good thing if that didn't mean products might be rushed to market with little confidence, like Russia's claims to have a working vaccine based on what would be sloppy Phase I results in a US company.

If something is available but doesn't work well enough to be meaningful, we have paralyzed the world and nothing will have changed. The .03 of the population with either risk factors, comorbidities, or extremely bad luck won't be helped at all.