It’s a beautiful dream to live as we lived before the pandemic !
But most scientists think it’s improbable. In January, Nature asked more than 100 immunologists, infectious-disease researchers and virologists working on the coronavirus whether it could be eradicated. Almost 90% of respondents think that the coronavirus will become endemic : meaning that it will continue to circulate in the worldwide for years.
“Eradicating this virus right now from the world is not easy. It’s unrealistic,” says Michael Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.
But failure to eradicate the virus does not mean that death, illness or.social isolation will continue on the scales seen so far. The future will depend heavily on the type of immunity people.acquire through infection or vaccination and how the virus evolves.
Influenza and the four human coronaviruses that cause common colds are also endemic: but a combination of.annual vaccines and acquired immunity means that societies tolerate the seasonal deaths and.illnesses they bring without requiring lockdowns, masks and social.distancing.
More than one-third of the respondents to Nature’s survey thought that it would be possible to.eliminate SARS-CoV-2 from.some regions while it continued to circulate in others. In zero-COVID regions there would be a continual risk of disease outbreaks, but they could be quenched quickly by herd immunity if most people had been vaccinated. “I guess COVID will be eliminated from some countries, but with a continuing risk of reintroduction from places where vaccine coverage and public-health measures have not been good enough,” says Christopher Dye, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, UK.
“The virus becoming endemic is likely, but the pattern.that it will take is hard to predict,” says Angela.Rasmussen, a virologist from.Georgetown University, who is based in Seattle, Washington.