If anyone hopes to see the light at the end of the tunnel of the Covid-19 pandemic within the next 3-6 months, scientists have some less-than-optimistic forecasts about this prospect.
Many scientists predict that the world will continue to see what happened with the Covid-19 pandemic in the next 3-6 months.
New outbreaks will cause schools to close. People in nursing homes who have been vaccinated still face the risk of new infections. Who labor will have to consider the risk when they return to work, while the hospital once again fall into overload.
Experts say nearly everyone will be infected or vaccinated before the pandemic is over. These two things can happen together. Some unlucky people will get the virus more than once.
The race between waves of infection leads to new strains of the virus, and the global vaccination war won’t end until the virus has spread to nearly everyone.
“I think outbreaks will continue to happen around the world. Then the epidemic will subside, potentially significantly. But after that, I think we could see an outbreak. different this fall and winter,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Policy Research at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and an adviser to US President Joe Biden.
With billions of people around the world still unvaccinated and the chances of completely eradicating the virus are very low, outbreaks of Covid-19 are expected to occur more frequently in classrooms, on public transport and in other places. working in the coming months, especially as economies push to reopen. Even as vaccination rates increase, there will always be a segment of the population vulnerable to Covid-19 such as infants, those who cannot or are not immunized, and those who have been vaccinated but are still infected. virus due to immunodeficiency after vaccination.
According to experts, the next few months will be a difficult time in the battle with Covid-19. One of the main possible risks is that a strain of the virus resistant to the vaccine develops. However, this is not the only risk.
“We’re going to see outbreaks rise and fall for at least the next few years, as we get more vaccines. But the challenge is: the scale of those outbreaks will be. How big and how long apart? We don’t know. But I can say that the forest fire caused by the corona virus will not stop until it has burned everything, “said Osterholm expert.
Viruses cannot be completely removed
A miner is vaccinated against Covid-19 in South Africa in August (Photo: Bloomberg).
According to Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist and professor of population health sciences at Roskilde University in Denmark, the five influenza pandemics recorded in the past 130 years offer some predictability for how this might work. of Covid-19.
Simonsen said the longest global flu epidemic lasted five years, mainly consisting of two to four large outbreaks that lasted an average of two to three years. Covid-19 is considered one of the more serious pandemics, when in nearly 2 years, the world has witnessed 3 outbreaks and the 3rd outbreak has not shown any signs of stopping.
Covid-19 may not follow the trend of previous pandemics. SARS-CoV-2 is a new, different and more infectious pathogen. Since its outbreak in late 2019, Covid-19 has killed more than 4.6 million people, more than twice as high as any outbreak since the Spanish flu of 1918.
Despite experiencing severe outbreaks last year and having relatively high vaccination rates, countries such as the US, UK, Russia and Israel continue to record high numbers of infections recently. Immunizations help reduce severe illness and deaths, but rising infections mean the virus is reaching young people and those who remain unvaccinated, leading to higher rates of severe illness in these groups. increase.
Countries with lower vaccination coverage such as Malaysia, Mexico, Iran and Australia are seeing the largest outbreaks due to the emergence of the highly contagious Delta strain. While the virus is still spreading out of control in large areas of the world, a new strain may continue to emerge.
According to Simonsen, history shows that the notion that the virus will automatically disappear over time is wrong. While new mutations are not always more severe than previous mutations, pandemics can be more deadly because viruses are finding ways to adapt to new hosts.
In the early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak, experts hope the vaccine will provide long-term protection. However, the number of infections globally is still increasing due to the emergence of mutations. This means that Covid-19 can be like the flu, requiring regular vaccinations to maintain protection as the virus evolves.
Another worse scenario that could happen in the coming months is the emergence of a new influenza virus or another coronavirus that spreads from animals to humans.
Customers are checked for vaccination status outside a bar in San Francisco, USA in August (Photo: Bloomberg).
According to Bloomberg , there are many signs that the Covid-19 pandemic will not end in the next 6 months. Experts agree that the current outbreak will be brought under control when the majority of people – some 90-95% of the global population – acquire immunity through vaccination or previous infection.
Scientists say that, emphasizing the key factor is still the vaccine.
“Without vaccination, people are very susceptible to infection, as the SARS-CoV-2 virus will spread widely and threaten most people this fall and winter,” said expert Simonsen.
Erica Charters, an associate professor of medical history at the University of Oxford, thinks the pandemic will end at different times in different regions, like previous outbreaks. Accordingly, governments will have to decide for themselves how much they can live with the epidemic.
However, the approach of each country will be different. While some countries are still pursuing a “Zero-Covid” strategy, reality shows that the world is not capable of completely eliminating the virus.
“The end of Covid-19 will not be the same. The pandemic is a biological phenomenon, but also a political and social phenomenon,” said Charters expert.
The Covid-19 pandemic will have lasting consequences for many years to come. Until then, most of the world will still have to battle the epidemic for months to come.
“Anyone who thinks we will get through this pandemic in the next few days or months is completely wrong,” Osterholm said.