- A new research report claims that the coronavirus pandemic may not die down for two years if a vaccine isn’t developed.
- One of the challenges involved with keeping the coronavirus at bay is that it’s very efficient at spreading silently.
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A new report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota has some discouraging news in regards to our efforts to keep the coronavirus at bay. While many people assumed, perhaps too optimistically, that the coronavirus would be nothing more than a distant memory by the time fall rolled around, the report relays that the current coronavirus pandemic may last for upwards of two years.
The report, which was released on Thursday, notes that the global population at large essentially has no pre-existing immunity to the coronavirus. This, compounded by the fact that the virus can easily be spread by asymptomatic individuals, will make it incredibly challenging to keep the virus from spreading.
Another factor that makes the coronavirus hard to contain is that the incubation period is longer than what we typically see for the flu:
There are also important differences. The first is the incubation period; the average incubation period for influenza is 2 days (range, 1 to 4 days); whereas, the average incubation period for COVID-19 is 5 days (range, 2 to 14 days). The longer incubation period for COVID-19 allowed the virus to move silently in different populations before being detected. This contributed to an initial environment of complacency before national governments became aware of the severity of the situation.
In short, the report reveals how efficient the coronavirus is at spreading relative to influenza viruses. Consequently, we may find ourselves in a situation where it seems that coronavirus infections have subsided only to find that a second and potentially more dangerous wave is upon us.
The report cautions that the entire country should be ready for a worst-case scenario where no vaccine for the virus exists. The report adds that government officials should make it clear that it’s possible that “this pandemic will not be over soon and that people need to be prepared for possible periodic resurgences of disease over the next 2 years.”
Even in a best-case scenario, the report notes that “we must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas.”
The report adds that the coronavirus pandemic won’t come to a halt until 60% to 70% of the population becomes immune.
Of course, the doom and gloom scenario above may not play out if researchers manage to come up with a vaccine. And while nothing is predictable at this point, Dr. Fauci recently said that a coronavirus vaccine might become widely available by January of 2021.