Is covid-19 with us forever?

We are all anxiously awaiting the time the pandemic ends and everything returns to normal.  Daniela Hernandez and Drew Hinshaw have written, for the Wall Street Journal, that it is beginning to dawn on ‘governments and businesses’ alike that we’re probably heading for a future of endemic Covid-19, in which the virus simmers and evolves, necessitating constant updates to vaccines, but never goes away.

“Going through the five phases of grief, we need to come to the acceptance phase that our lives are not going to be the same”, former CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden tells them.  “I don’t think the world has really absorbed the fact that these are long-term changes”.

Many experts have drawn the same conclusion.  Vaccines may make life more palatable, by preventing the severity and death caused by the pandemic, but may not completely stop transmission.  With the population developing immunity to the vaccines and new variants of coved emerging, the spread could linger. 

Living with covid-19

As the above is pessimistic, LET’S TRY BEING OPTIMISTIC. Although many experts believe the pandemic won’t be going away, just as many believe that mankind can deal with it.  With vaccinations worldwide and continual surveillance, the virus could become a much milder illness. 

The essential factors controlling the future of COVID-19 is our immunity to the illness.  If the experts and scientists can get ahead of this, then one day children will receive the appropriate vaccination, along with those they now have such as measles, polio etc.

Eventually, COVID-19 could transition into a mild childhood illness, similar to the four endemic human coronaviruses that make up the common cold.   Quoting Paul Duprex, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Vaccine Research, “There will be pockets of people who won’t take the vaccines, there will be localized outbreaks, but it will become one of the ‘regular’ coronaviruses.”  Experts say that SARS-CoV-2’s exact post-pandemic trajectory will depend on three major factors:  how long humans retain immunity to the virus, how quickly the virus evolves, and how widely older populations become immune during the pandemic itself.  

Sandy McInnes
MPL Newsletter Editor



We’re going to be able to manage because
modern medicine and vaccines but it’s not something
that will vanish
out of the window

 Byron Anderson
Imperial College London