Do we have to get used to living with the coronavirus?
The coronavirus may never disappear but become at home in the population. This forecast was made by Michael Ryan, the emergency aid coordinator of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“There are viruses that can be defeated – and we have to learn to live with some. We learned that with HIV,” said Ryan. “We now have to focus on saving lives and protecting those in our society who need it most.”
The proliferation will reduce the chances of eradication
Does this assessment mean that the pandemic will last forever? Nobody can say for sure how the situation will develop at the moment.
One thing is certain: The coronavirus has already spread widely. The chances of it disappearing are therefore slim. It is more likely that it will continue to circulate in the population after the current pandemic – together with harmless cold viruses.
However, the current outbreak will end in the foreseeable future: the pandemic is over when most of the population have the infection behind them and are immune to the virus. According to estimates, this could take a year or two.
Immunity to Coronavirus still uncertain
The question is: what’s next? Unfortunately, the body’s protection against pathogens usually does not last forever. When immunity declines vary from pathogen to pathogen. How long immunity to the coronavirus persists is not yet known.
If it were only a few months, annual corona waves would be conceivable – similar to the annual flu waves. If immunity lasts for many years, corona outbreaks could occur every few years.
A great hope for a vaccine
The future would look more hopeful with a vaccination. If almost everyone can be vaccinated, the pandemic could be slowed down quickly.
Vaccination might not eradicate the virus, but it would suppress it significantly. Millions of people could be protected against the infection within a few weeks to months. A vaccine against the virus may already be available in 2021.