In the next 6 months, will the picture of Covid-19 in the world be brighter or still dark?

Can’t see the “light at the end of the tunnel”

According to scientists, new outbreaks of Covid-19 will cause schools to close. Elderly people in nursing homes who have been vaccinated are at increased risk of new infections. Workers will have to consider the dangers of returning to the workplace. Hospitals could be overwhelmed again.

Experts say that the majority of people globally will probably get sick or be vaccinated before the Covid-19 pandemic ends. These two things can also happen at the same time. Some unlucky people will contract SARS-CoV-2 more than once. According to Bloomberg, the race between vaccination and the waves of infection that led to the emergence of a new variant will not end until SARS-CoV-2 spreads to nearly everyone.

“I see the number of Covid-19 cases continuing to rise around the world. After that, the number of virus infections will decrease, even steeply, but I think we will see another increase in the fall and winter,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Research and Policy book on infectious diseases at the University of Minnesota, and an adviser to President Joe Biden.

As billions of people around the world are still unvaccinated and the chances of completely eradicating SARS-CoV-2 are very low, the risk of new outbreaks at schools, on public transport and on public transport is low. in the workplace in the coming months is very high, especially as economies reopen. Even if vaccination rates increase, there will still be vulnerable populations such as infants, people who cannot or do not want to be vaccinated, and people who have been vaccinated but still get sick due to reduced immunity. down.

Experts say that the next few months will be a difficult time in the battle with the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the main threats is the appearance of New variant that is resistant to vaccines.

“We will see the number of cases go up and then fall, at least for the next few years, until more people are vaccinated in the world. Vaccination will help fight the virus. What matters, however, is how large the outbreaks will be and how far apart,” Osterholm said.

The color gamut of the Covid-19 picture in the near future

According to Lone Simonsen, an epidemiologist at Roskilde University (Denmark), five influenza pandemics recorded in the past 130 years have provided some predictions about the evolution of Covid-19.

“The longest global influenza pandemic was in 5 years, consisted of 2-4 major outbreaks and lasted for 2-3 years. Covid-19 is considered one of the more serious pandemics. In the nearly two years since the outbreak, Covid-19 has caused three major outbreaks around the world, and the third wave shows no sign of ending,” said Ms.

It is possible that Covid-19 will not develop according to the trends of past pandemics. SARS-CoV-2 is more transmissible than other viruses. To date, the Covid-19 pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 4.6 million people around the world. The death toll from Covid-19 has so far been more than twice as high as in any pandemic since the 1918 Spanish flu.

Countries with relatively high vaccination rates such as the US, UK, Russia and Israel are currently seeing a spike in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections. Vaccination has helped prevent severe illness and death from Covid-19, but an increase in cases means the virus is a threat to children and unvaccinated people, increasing the risk of severe illness in children. these objects. Currently, children under 12 years of age are not eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Countries with low vaccination rates, such as Malaysia, Mexico, Iran and Australia, are also facing severe disease outbreaks due to the spread of the Delta variant. As SARS-CoV-2 continues to spread in many regions of the world, the emergence of new variants in the future is entirely possible.

“In the past there was a belief that viruses would weaken themselves over time, in order to avoid eliminating host populations. But this may be a misconception. While new variants are not always more deadly than previous ones, in reality, pandemics can worsen over time as the virus adapts better to a new host. Mrs. Simonsen said.

During the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, experts hoped that the vaccine would provide long-term protection, like the polio shot given to children.

SARS-CoV-2 has a “proof-reading” mechanism to correct genetic errors that occur when the virus replicates, reducing the risk of new variants emerging as the virus spreads from person to person.

However, the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections globally is so large that new variants are still emerging.

“The spread of the Covid-19 pandemic is too great. This went against the virus’s ability to read,” said Kanta Subbarao, director of the WHO’s seasonal flu cooperation center at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infectious and Immunity in Melbourne.

This means Covid-19 can be like the flu , which requires periodic booster vaccinations to maintain protection as the virus will not stop evolving.

Some researchers say that SARS-CoV-2 may become completely resistant to the first generation of vaccines. A study in Japan indicates that dangerous mutations of the Delta variant have been collected in a global database that tracks the issue. Reports that existing variants may reduce the effectiveness of the vaccine or cause higher mortality are still under scrutiny.

“This is a scenario we all hope will not happen. If that happens, we’ll have to start all over again,” Simonsen said.

Other, worse scenarios that could happen in the coming months are the emergence of a new influenza virus or another strain of coronavirus that is transmitted from animals to humans.

“As long as animals are home to the corona virus, there is a possibility that another strain of the virus may emerge in the future. In that case, the world is in danger of both fighting this virus and having to deal with a new virus,” said Subbarao expert.

When will the Covid-19 pandemic end?

Bloomberg commented that the Covid-19 pandemic will not be over within the next 6 months. Experts agree that the pandemic situation will calm down when the majority of people, about 90-95% of the global population, have immunity through vaccination or because they have been infected.

Scientists emphasize that the key factor to ending the pandemic is still vaccination against Covid-19.

“Without a vaccine, everyone is going to be hit by the virus because SARS-CoV-2 will spread quickly and threaten everyone this fall and winter,” Ms. Simonsen said.

To date, more than 5.66 billion vaccines have been administered worldwide, according to Bloomberg data. While vaccination rates in some regions such as the European Union, North America and China are quite high, countries in Africa have only fully immunized less than 5% of the population. Ratio Fully vaccinated in India is about 26%.

The pandemic will end at different times in different places, said Erica Charters, an associate professor of medical history at the University of Oxford. “Countries will have to decide for themselves what level of living with the disease they can accept,” Ms. Charters said.

Covid-19 strategies of countries around the world currently have many differences. Some countries still pursue the strategy of “zero-Covid” (reducing the number of Covid-19 cases to zero), but the reality is that the world is unlikely to completely eradicate this virus.

Countries like Denmark and Singapore, which have relatively well controlled the number of cases and are looking forward to a new post-pandemic future by gradually lifting restrictive measures. Some other countries such as the UK and the US are reopening despite the high number of Covid-19 cases. Meanwhile, China and New Zealand have vowed to continue their efforts to completely eliminate the virus from the country.

“The end of the pandemic will not be uniform across the globe. A pandemic is a biological phenomenon, but it is also a political and social phenomenon. Even now, countries have different approaches to the pandemic,” Ms. Charters said.

The Covid-19 pandemic will cause chaos and lasting consequences for years to come. Until the pandemic is over, most people around the world will have to spend many more months living in the “grip” of Covid-19.

“We must face the epidemic with vigilance and caution. It would be a mistake for anyone to think that the pandemic will end in just a few days or months,” Osterholm said.

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