The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to a crippling halt. Nations around the world have imposed lockdowns in a bid to flatten the curve and curb the spread of infection. However, according to a recent study published in the United States, the COVID-19 pandemic could last for at least the next two years.
For the infections to be brought under control the researchers predict that at least two-thirds of the world population will have to develop Herd immunity against it.
Herd immunity means that a sufficiently high proportion of the population becomes immune to the disease. The biggest challenge in controlling COVID-19 is that over 80% of the people who are infected are either asymptomatic or exhibit only mild symptoms. This makes COVID-19 harder to control than Influenza which has been the cause of most pandemics in recent history.
Billions of people around the world have been put under varying degrees of lockdowns and some nations which have managed to flatten the curve and are witnessing fewer infections have slowly begun to allow some businesses and public spaces to reopen.
According to researchers, COVID-19 infections may continue to re-appear in waves even beyond 2022. This study has been published by the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota. The study warns that the government around the world should stop telling people that the pandemic will end soon instead they should prepare citizens for the long haul.
The COVID-19 pandemic could progress in three possible scenarios.
The first scenario is named as Peaks and Valleys wherein the first wave of infections will be followed by a series of smaller waves that occur through the summer, fall and into the winter season.
In the second scenario named the Fall peak, the first wave of infections could be followed by a much larger wave of infections in the winter later this year followed by smaller waves of infections in 2021. This scenario will require the Government to clampdown on the spread of infections with a second round of largescale lockdowns to prevent the health care system from getting overwhelmed.
The third and final scenario has been described as a Slow burn, in which the number of infections and deaths continues at a slower rate. The second is the worst-case scenario which Governments need to plan for. All these researches are pointing to one specific conclusion that we should be prepared as we are not getting out of this easily.
As citizens, we are distressed by the instructions we receive and the precautions we need to follow but we have to get used to this. Our lives will be changing once lockdown ends, masks would be a compulsion and sanitizers would be a norm. Everywhere social distancing would be practised. Our schedules will be fixed with constant temperature checks and routine health check-ups.
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