Healthcare workers wearing protective equipment are preparing to attend patients at the Portimao Arena sports pavilion, converted at the Covid-19 Polish Patient Hospital in Portimao, Algarve region, on February 9, 2021 (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo: PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – More and more doctors and public health officials are warning that even with the mass introduction of safe and effective vaccines, Covid can be established permanently.
White House Coronavirus Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci,, Modern Executive Director Stephane Bancel and Executive Director of the World Health Organization Health Emergency Program Dr. Mike Ryan they have said in recent weeks that the coronavirus may never go away.
To date, more than 107 million people worldwide have contracted Covid-19, with 2.36 million deaths, according to data collected from Johns Hopkins University.
David Heymann, Professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, warned in October, the virus appears to be on its way to becoming endemic. He confirmed his position this week during a webinar for the think tank Chatham House.
“I think if you talk to most epidemiologists and most public health workers, they would say today that they believe this disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” he said.
Heymann chaired the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Hazards and headed the Infectious Diseases Unit of the UN Agency during the 2002-2003 SARS epidemic.
Heymann warned that it is not yet possible to be sure of the fate of the virus because its outcome depends on many unknown factors.
“Currently, the emphasis is on saving lives, which it should be, and ensuring that hospitals are not overloaded with Covid patients – and that will continue to be possible,” Heymann said, referring to the mass introduction of the vaccine.
Mass delivery of Covid vaccines began in many high-income countries nearly two months ago and has accelerated, but mass immunization of the population will take time.
However, some low-income countries have not received a single dose of the vaccine to protect people who are most at risk for coronavirus.
The doctor records during a training held by Chinese doctors and medical professionals via a teleconference in Maputo, Mozambique, on May 21, 2020. Chinese obstetricians and pediatricians share their experiences with Mozambican physicians on Covid-19 prevention and treatment among pregnant women and children via teleconference at Central Hospital Maputo.
Nie Zuguo | Xinhua News Agency Getty Images
A report published last month by the Economist Intelligence Unit predicted that the majority of the adult population of advanced economies would be vaccinated by the middle of next year. Conversely, however, this time frame extends to early 2023 for many middle-income countries, and even to 2024 for some low-income countries.
It underscores the scale of the challenge of bringing the pandemic under control around the world.
“Covid-19 is an endemic human infection. The scientific reality is that, with so many people infected around the world, the virus will continue to mutate,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome and a member of the British organization Scientific. Emergency Advisory Group.
“Living with this virus, however, doesn’t mean we can’t control it. We need to learn lessons from 2020 and act fast. Every day is important,” he added.
“I think it’s good to put this in context and consider other infectious diseases that are endemic today,” Heymann said during an online event on Wednesday when asked if policymakers should take into account other endemic diseases in response to the Covid pandemic.
He cited tuberculosis and HIV, as well as four endemic coronaviruses known to cause colds.
“We’ve learned to live with all these infections, we’ve learned how to assess the risk ourselves. For some we have vaccines, for others we have therapy, we have diagnostic tests that can help us all do a better job of living with these infections.”
“There are several unknowns that make it very difficult for political leaders and public health leaders to decide what the best strategies would be, including the fact that we do not fully understand the‘ long Covid ’and its impact or its impact even after very small infections,” he continued.
“So it’s not a matter of this being a special disease. This is one of many we’ll have to balance our lives with and understand how to deal with it like we have the flu, as well as other infections,” Heymann said.
Nurse (R) checks the computer with the director of the hospital, Dr. Yutaka Kobayashi, at the coronavirus department at Sakura General Hospital on February 10, 2021 in Oguchi, Japan. The hospital, like many others in Japan, has seen a constant flow of patients with Covid-19 coronavirus over the past year as the country struggles with an ongoing viral pandemic.
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The term “rainbow covid” refers to patients who suffer from a prolonged illness after being initially infected with the virus, with symptoms that include shortness of breath, migraine, and chronic fatigue.
The public discourse on the pandemic has mainly focused on those who have a serious or fatal illness, while current medical problems as a result of the virus are often either undervalued or misunderstood.
Last month, the largest global study of the long Covid to date found that many of those suffering from the long-term consequences six months later could not return to work at full capacity.