When will COVID-19 end? Four reasons the pandemic won’t be over yet
It’s been over a year since coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) changed the course of history. In a world where most people are free to do what they want and go wherever they wish, being locked down was a huge adjustment. And after 12 months since the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency, mankind is getting impatient.
Unfortunately, the end of the pandemic isn’t yet in sight. Even though Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and other vaccines are available and many more are in clinical trials, there are still a lot of unanswered questions. Just when the number of cases is starting to go down, something happens that triggers another surge of infections.
So, when will this COVID-19 pandemic end? Here are four reasons why we may just have to learn to live with the virus.
Herd immunity is unprecedented
Soon after the Coronavirus became a public health concern, biotech companies immediately started working on a vaccine. Something this lethal and contagious needed to be managed at once.
Vaccine development efforts yielded a few shots that the Food and Drug Administration granted an Emergency Use Authorization. So far, only Pfizer and Moderna are FDA-approved COVID vaccines. They aim to immunize populations and achieve herd immunity quickly.
But what is herd immunity? This is a situation in which a significant percentage of the population, about 80%, is fully vaccinated and protected against the COVID-19 infection. The goal is to reduce the likelihood of the unvaccinated group getting infected.
This would be great if not for these issues:
- The effectiveness of COVID vaccines and booster doses on new variants
- Not all parents want their children aged 5 and up to get vaccinated
- Religious exemption for COVID vaccine
- How long does the COVID vaccine last in terms of protection
- How long does natural immunity last
- There may be more than a million previously infected people who develop long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms months after completion of the recovery stage
Unless some of these issues are addressed, acquiring herd immunity may be like catching the wind in a net.
There are over three variants to watch out for
As long as the virus continues to spread from person to person as often as it can, more mutations will occur, therefore, more variants will come about. Per new mutation that’s discovered, scientists need to check if it’ll significantly affect the severity of the virus and the efficacy of the vaccines.
Just like most infectious diseases, the SARS-Cov2 virus mutates as it replicates itself. There are over 4000 variants of it but the three major strains are those that were discovered in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and Brazil. Those were notable because they spread faster and could be less reactive to the COVID vaccines currently being rolled out.
The impact of COVID varies per country
The number of COVID-19 cases is different for every country because of several factors, like vaccination rate, healthcare capability, and obesity. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive weight can worsen the symptoms and effects of the virus.
Obese patients are more likely to get hospitalized due to the possibility of impaired immune function and lung problems. About 30% of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States between 2019 and 2020 were attributed to obesity.
Human behavior is unpredictable
No matter how effective the vaccines are or how efficient and well-equipped a healthy system is, it all boils down to human behavior. Health protocols are simple, easy, and beneficial in minimizing the spread of Coronavirus. However, if those aren’t implemented and followed strictly, then a surge is inevitable.
It’s a challenge to manage or control how individuals will behave especially when in public. Staying within close distance of another person for over 15 minutes increases the risk of contagion. The improper wearing of a face mask or the absence of it could put people at risk of infection. The lack of disinfecting practices, like the simple act of washing hands, could mean the difference between life and death.
How long will the pandemic last?
According to podcasts, academic articles, and school of public health experts, it may take several years before things can go back to the way it was before COVID-19 came about. It’s an unfortunate prediction but it’s a rational one. Instead of insisting on a definite forecast as to when will COVID end, let’s focus on the present.
Everyone needs to follow imposed health protocols from public health experts, comply with travel advisories, stay home if at all possible, avoid crowds, maintain good health, and boost their immunity. If you’re qualified, book a vaccination appointment and get the vaccines or booster shots needed to protect you against COVID-19. If you’re concerned about possible exposure, quarantine immediately and undergo Rapid COVID testing and a PCR test if needed.
If we all did these things, there’s a chance we’ll see great improvement in the current situation that the whole world is in.