It’s been over a year since 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 is not yet in sight. Even with Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and other vaccines being available and many more 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. As of today, vaccine development efforts yielded a few shots that were granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA as a means to quickly immunize populations and achieve herd immunity.
But what is herd immunity? This is a situation in which a significant percentage of the population, about 80%, is vaccinated and protected against the COVID-19 infection. The goal is to reduce the likelihood for the unvaccinated group to get infected.
This would be great if not for these issues:
- The vaccines might not be as effective on new variants
- Children are not qualified (yet) for COVID-19 vaccinations
- No one knows how long immunity lasts, be it vaccine-induced or natural immunity
- There may not be enough vaccines for everyone
- There may be more than a million people who have long-lasting COVID-19 symptoms
Unless some of these issues are addressed, acquiring herd immunity may be like catching the wind in a net.
There Are Over 3 Variants To Watch Out For
As long as the virus continues to spread from one person to another as often as it can, more mutations will occur, therefore, more variants will come about. Per new mutation that is discovered, scientists need to check if it will 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 may be less reactive to the COVID vaccines currently being rolled out.
The Impact Varies for Each 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 (CDC), excess weight can worsen the symptoms and effects of the virus.
Obese individuals 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 are not implemented and followed strictly, then a surge is inevitable.
It is 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 is an unfortunate prediction but it is 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 are qualified, get vaccinated against COVID-19. If you are concerned about possible exposure, quarantine immediately and undergo Rapid COVID testing and a PCR test if needed. If we all did these things, there is a chance we will see great improvement in the current situation that the whole world is in.