At the very least, something that the doubters termed “just like the flu” at times early last year will resemble what happens every flu season.
COVID-19 will be with us in some form for years to come; perhaps forever.
Nature.com ran a survey of leading scientists who were in almost complete agreement that the virus that causes COVID-19 won’t be going away.
From the Nature report:
“Almost 90% of respondents think that the coronavirus will become endemic — meaning that it will continue to circulate in pockets of the global population for years to come.”
The scale of death and hospitalizations can be drastically reduced via vaccines and how people handle immunity – though mutations are likely to be a continued challenge.
More than 100 immunologists, infectious-disease researchers and virologists were surveyed.
Just how bad is something when defined as “endemic”?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “A constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area” similar to influenza, which is an endemic respiratory illness in the U.S.
“Eradicating this virus right now from the world is a lot like trying to plan the construction of a stepping-stone pathway to the Moon. It’s unrealistic,” says Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
In a CNBC Health and Wellness story, Erica Ollmann Saphire, professor at the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, said she believes COVID-19 will be “a permanent part of the human existence.”
With more than 500,000 Americans dead from coronavirus, there is certainly reason for concern, but, Saphire said, there already are mitigation measures in place.
Namely, vaccines and immunity.
“Eventually, enough of us will be vaccinated or have survived it that there will be enough immune firebreaks that will slow propagation,” Saphire said.