After more than a year of the pandemic, everyone is ready to end this. It's just exhausting. The lockdowns, the reopenings, the constant turmoil over what this will mean for our jobs and our lives. The ever-present fear that the worst will happen to ourselves or to someone we know and love.
I have to say, pandemics are no fun. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Vaccines are here and already being rolled out around the world Hundreds of millions are already injected safety into their arms.
But that begs the question: what will the world be like when it's all over? What if a pandemic has gone it is the way?
Bangs and Whimpers
The first thing I should say is that this is all speculation. We don't see the end of a global pandemic of this magnitude in 100 years, and in the globalized world of the 1920s, whatever we see is likely to be very different from anything that happened before.
That said, there are some things we can make reasonable deductions about given the nature of COVID-19 and what we already know about transmission.
One thing we can say with some certainty is that COVID-19 will likely never go away from the There are very few ways we can completely eradicate the disease, and given that the virus mutates over time and reinfections, particularly over 5-10 years, are not unlikely, likely, we will never be completely free. of the disease. happening in real-time, with new variants already evading the defences our bodies built against the original virus.
The caveat to this pessimism is that it is likely possible to eradicate COVID-19. We have famously done this with smallpox, and we have indications that the vaccines available are potentially good enough to stop the transmission of the disease in most people who contract them. In theory, with global coordination and goodwill, we could stop the disease in its tracks.
Given the past 12 months of global confusion and mismanagement, however, it seems unlikely that such an effort will occur.
But even if COVID-19 it doesn't completely disappear, I'm still pretty optimistic about the relatively near future. Why?
It all comes down to vaccines. Vaccines are awesome
As I wrote before, COVID-19 vaccines are one of the greatest scientific achievements of the past 100 years - not just production, but the decades of work that followed also allows you to get the vaccine within 12 months of new disease onset. Now we don't know if all vaccines prevent transmission - you pass the disease to another person - or if they make most less severe/asymptomatic infections. But the point is that while this is important, it is not the only important thing about these vaccinations. One thing we do know with some certainty is that they are likely to protect against serious illness and death (although it works against the newer variants is still unknown).
We also know, in part from my work, that COVID-19 is most dangerous. healthy for older adults, problematic for middle-aged people, and not as much of a problem for young adults and children.
This means that once the majority of people over 50 of a population are vaccinated, the disease will become much less severe. Once you vaccinate most of the population, although the disease is still spreading, it will probably spread. The pandemic could last, but it will ultimately be something we can live with, rather than something that will rule our lives. After booster vaccinations and years of immunity, we will likely be left with another virus similar to the common cold.
It is very difficult to say when this will happen. Each country will likely have a different threshold for when COVID-19 loses its edge. In some places like Israel, where the majority of those over 60 and a large part of the rest have been vaccinated, you'd expect it to be pretty soon. In others, especially in the developing world, one would expect I hate to predict the future. There are so many unknowns, so many things that could go wrong. The virus may be mutating faster than vaccines can explain, plausibly that any sort of end is further away than we'd hope.
But given our success, I'm a little optimistic. Maybe not this month, maybe not even this year, but shortly we will likely see and end COVID-19 when it ends up becoming just another cold.
boss on February 11, 2021:
nice article, wish you well for the future