Healthcare experts and officials around the world say that COVID-19 will be with us for a long while to come, and we are going to have to learn to live with it, just like we deal with seasonal influenza.
According to CNBC, global mass immunizations will take time as low-income countries still have not received a single dose of COVID-19 vaccines. More than 107 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus and 2.36 million have died.
“I think if you speak with most epidemiologists and most public health workers, they would say that the disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” said Dr. David Heyman, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
Dr. Jeremy Farrar, a member of the U.K.’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies added: “COVID-19 is an endemic human infection. The scientific reality is that, with so many people infected worldwide, the virus will continue to mutate.” Farrar said that living with the virus does not mean we cannot control it, according to CNBC.
According to Fox News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that the world may never return to the “normal” we knew before the outbreak and that even with a vaccine, the virus will continue to be a threat.
Simon James Thornley, an epidemiologist from the University of Auckland, said, “We are going to have to learn to live with the virus.
According to The New York Times, as mass infections strike in places that seemed to have the virus under control, officials are adjusting to the reality that the virus is here to stay.
“It’s always going to be with us,” said Thornley.
According to The Washington Post, other experts agree that even with vaccines, there’s a good chance the virus will become endemic, meaning it probably will never go away. Specialists in the field of epidemiology, disaster, and vaccine development say that we need to embrace that reality to more forward to the next step of America’s pandemic response.
They noted that during these uncertain ties, the “persistence of the novel virus is one of the few things we can count on about the future.” According to the Post, the coronavirus will remain for decades to come, but like other endemic diseases, illnesses that are too stubborn to be stamped out, its severity most likely will decrease.
Experts said that the common cold is caused by endemic viruses, but as our immunity spreads, we will be able to adapt to the new virus over time.
“The virus is here to stay,” said Dr. Sarah Cobey, an epidemiologist and evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. “The question is, how do we live with it safely?”
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