Thursday, 26 May 2022

Covid will keep infecting and prompting vaccination into next century: expert

As many look with anticipation to post-pandemic life, a health expert has made a grim prediction to the contrary – that the coronavirus will be around until the next century.

Health experts worldwide have been hopeful that the highly transmissible but milder Omicron variant will transition Covid-19 from a pandemic to a more stable and manageable endemic.

But Dr Gregory Poland, an epidemiologist for the Minnesota-based Mayo Clinic, says ‘we are not yet at any stage where we could predict endemicity’. Furthermore, he opined, ‘We’re not going to eradicate it’.

Poland pointed out that the coronavirus has infected animals, and said that indicates it can keep mutating and spread for an indefinite amount of time.

‘So let me make a prediction, which will be hard for any of you to hold me to because we will all be dead by then, but your great-great-great-grandchildren will still be getting immunized against coronavirus,’ Poland told MarketWatch on Tuesday.

‘How can I even say such a thing? If you got your flu vaccine this fall you were immunized against a strain of influenza that showed up in 1918 and caused a pandemic.’ 

Poland’s remarks came a day before the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, reiterated that it is too early to consider the coronavirus ‘controlled’ in the US.

‘Where we want to be is that sufficient control. Not eradication… that’s unreasonable. Not necessarily elimination… but a level of control that does not disrupt us in society,’ Fauci said a White House Covid-19 Response Team briefing on Wednesday.

‘That does not dominate our live and does not prevent us from doing things that we generally do under normal existence.’

Covid cases in the US surged in late 2021 and peaked at about 800,000 daily cases in early January, and now appear to be beginning to decline.

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