The world learned about a new unknown science virus inend of last year. However, we all underestimated him a little. So, even though we at the editorial board of Hi-News.ru write a lot about SARS-CoV-2, I somehow felt completely uncomfortable only recently. I think this is from the recognition of the inevitability of future shocks and changes - after all, the world will not be the same. Of course, the pandemic will end sooner or later, but no one knows how events will unfold in the future. We can only make assumptions based on known information. And while we diligently wash our hands and sew protective masks in self-isolation, scientists are trying to predict how this dire global crisis will end. So, according to the researchers, there are several possible scenarios for ending the pandemic of the new coronavirus. Details about each of them are described in this article.
At the time of this writing, the numberinfected with the new coronavirus CoVID-19 in the world exceeded one million people and this figure continues to grow. Every day, the disease takes thousands of lives, and epidemiologists say the peak incidence is yet to come. However, during this difficult time, it is very important to remain calm and follow all the recommendations of the World Health Organization - observe social distance, wash your hands thoroughly and stay at home. Do not forget that the way we spend the coming months will affect the state of immunity, which is the only weapon against the new coronavirus, at least an effective vaccine has not yet been invented. At the same time, living in complete obscurity is very difficult, and listening to all sorts of obscurantists who call the exact end date of the pandemic is simply dangerous. Therefore, we propose to get acquainted with realistic options for the development of events predicted by scientists. The main thing to remember is that all of the above scenarios may turn out to be false, since we all - and scientists too - tend to make mistakes, and no one knows the future.
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- 1 Why did the outbreak of coronavirus not be contained?
- 2 1. Natural decline in incidence
- 3 2. Transition from pandemic to endemic
- 4 3. Inhibiting the spread of the virus by response
- 5 4. Development of a vaccine against coronavirus
- 6 Unknown ending
Why was the outbreak of coronavirus not controlled?
The first and most popular move to endany epidemic is its containment. If the number of cases is limited by the place of the outbreak, and people who left the epicenter do not infect people in other countries and cities, then the spread of infection will be minimal. Therefore, before the outbreak of CoVID-19 was officially recognized as a pandemic, it was possible to geographically localize it. However, this possibility disappeared along with the first reports of the spread of coronavirus in Europe and North America in February. According to scientists from Johns Hopkins University, once it was established that the virus spreads effectively between people, it became clear that it was impossible to contain it.
1. Natural decline in incidence
No matter how terrible the pandemic might seem today,there is always the possibility that the number of new cases may naturally decrease. Researchers attribute this to a number of factors, as other coronaviruses and influenza viruses often recede naturally when the weather gets warmer. So, according to a recent hypothesis, SARS-CoV-2 does not survive well in wetter conditions, although this information has not yet been confirmed. The incidence of new coronavirus can also decrease, because the virus will infect people who are most susceptible to it. According to epidemiologist Joshua Epstein of New York University, it usually happens that a sufficient number of susceptible people become infected with the virus, but then the chain of infections naturally fades. However, in small populations this happens faster, and in the event of a pandemic, the process can take several months.
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2. Transition from pandemic to endemic
Endemic - the constant presence of a disease (usually infectious) in a particular area
According to the second scenario, the SARS-CoV-2 viruswill become endemic to humans. This means that it will turn into a familiar “seasonal disease” like SARS and flu. After passing through a pandemic, the virus may well remain in the human population, turning into a seasonal respiratory disease. This opinion is shared by epidemiologist Stephen Morse of Columbia University.
His colleague Michael Osterholm from the UniversityMinnesota also believes that CoVID-19 could well become another seasonal pathogen that causes pneumonia. In the end, the only pathogen that the new coronavirus can be compared to is seasonal flu. And he, as we are well aware, returns every year.
3. Inhibiting the spread of the virus by response
End the coronavirus pandemicslowing its spread through therapeutic treatment of those infected in hospitals and at home. Experts call this scenario “smoothing the curve” - roughly speaking, we all do not leave home today to win time and reduce the load on the healthcare system. Such a response will bring the pandemic closer to endemic. But if the spread is not succeeded, it will lead not only to an increase in deaths, but also to an increase in new cases of morbidity.
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4. Development of a vaccine against coronavirus
Making a vaccine is very complicated and time consuming.A process that takes a long time - from 12 to 18 months or more. But even if you get the vaccine in the near future, it is important to understand that vaccination helps prevent the disease before someone gets infected. Its main goal is to prevent future outbreaks of the disease. According to epidemiologist Mark Lipsic of Harvard University, between 40% and 70% of people worldwide can become infected with SARS-CoV-2 over the course of a year. And if most people in the world are exposed to the virus, then introducing them with a vaccine may not be very useful. Read more about who is working on the manufacture of the vaccine and when it appears, read our material.
Scenarios are similar to potential storylines. What actually happens depends on a huge number of factors, so it is incredibly difficult to predict the exact course of events. There are more questions than answers regarding CoVID-19. So, we learn about the effectiveness of social distance only after a while, the same applies to the development of a vaccine and effective antiviral drugs. All we can do now is to recognize the fact that the future cannot be predicted, but we can try to control the number of new cases and not allow fear to control us. This is indeed a difficult time for all of us, but the best we can do is to limit the number of contacts and comply with WHO recommendations.