What would it look like if the COVID pandemic ended next year?
Could COVID Pandemic Be Over Next Year?
Some experts say yes. BUT, even if the pandemic ends next year, COVID will not disappear. According to both Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House chief medical advisor, and Dr. Timothy Brewer, professor of epidemiology with the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health,agree that, in Dr. Brewer’s words, “It’s very unlikely that we’re ever going to be able to get rid of COVID.
Both Fauci and Brewer also agree, however, that living with an endemic virus is very different that living with a pandemic virus.
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COVID becoming an endemic disease would mean that COVID as an illness would constantly circulate throughout certain parts of the world and would cause a lower rate of severe illness than it has from its pandemic onslaught.
Even non-medical experts, such as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ,agree with these two medical experts. Gates wrote in a blog post last week, “At some point next year, COVID-19 will become an endemic disease in most places.”
What End of Pandemic Really Means
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote in a blog post last week, “At some point next year, COVID-19 will become an endemic disease in most places.”
Currently, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 64% of the US population five years old and up are fully vaccinated. Having a higher percentage of the population would help decrease the severity of the illness, hospitalizations and deaths.
If vaccination rates were to increase, COVID-19 would “behave” more like the flu virus instead of the deadly disease it has been. The flu virus constantly circulates here and around the world with an ebb and flow rate constantly causing more and less infections seasonally every year. People regularly get vaccinated against the flu virus yearly to help build layers of immunity to the disease.
Brewer believes COVID will, eventually, behave like the flu. Aubree Gordon, an infectious disease epidemiologist and associate professor with the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan, agrees. Gordon believes that having multiple layers of immunity with yearly vaccinations will likely help make an endemic COVID mush less severe and deadly than a pandemic COVID. And, just like the flu, we now have COVID booster shots to maintain our immunity and we will soon have new antiviral COVID drugs that will help treat people who do get sick from occasional COVID outbreaks.
Brewer thinks that people should attempt to “minimize the health and economic consequences (of an endemic COVID) as much as possible and get on with their lives.” Sure, with an endemic COVID, wearing a mask in public indoor spaces during the colder parts of the year makes sense. Brewer said, “We don’t necessarily have to come up with new interventions…It’s just that we’ve got to do a better job continuing to do the things we know that work.”
How Do COVID Variants Impact Our Health?
Whether or not a COVID variant such as omicron has a major impact on shifting COVID from a pandemic to an endemic disease is still an open question. Quite simply, we don’t yet know.
We don’t yet know if this variant and any forthcoming variant of COVID will cause severe illness and/or if this and any forthcoming variant will reduce the vaccines and boosters current amazingly high protection levels.
As Gordon said, it’s an “open question.”
Thanks to CNBC.