Medical doctors warn Covid is changing into endemic and folks should be taught to reside with it
Healthcare workers wearing protective clothing prepare to care for patients in the Portimao Arena sports pavilion, which was converted into a field hospital for Covid-19 patients on February 9, 2021 in Portimao, Algarve. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP) (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP via Getty Images)
PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA | AFP | Getty Images
LONDON – A growing chorus of doctors and public health officials have warned that despite the mass rollout of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the disease can become endemic.
White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CEO of Moderna, Stephane Bancel, and the Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, Dr. Mike Ryan, everyone has been saying for the past few 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. This is based on data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, had warned that the virus appeared to be on its way to becoming endemic late last year. He confirmed his position earlier this week during a webinar for the Chatham House think tank.
“I think if you talked to most epidemiologists and most public health workers today they would say that they believe this disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” he said.
Heymann chairs the WHO Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Risks and headed the Department of Infectious Diseases at the Department of Health during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003.
However, living with this virus doesn’t mean we can’t control it. We must learn lessons from 2020 and act quickly. Every day counts.
Dr. Jeremy Farrar
Director of Wellcome
He warned that it is not yet possible to be certain of the fate of the virus, as its outcome depends on many unknown factors.
“At the moment the focus is on saving lives as it should be and ensuring that hospitals are not overloaded with Covid patients – and this will be possible in the future,” Heymann cited the mass introduction of Covid vaccines.
“We must learn lessons from 2020”
The mass shipments of Covid vaccines began almost two months ago in many high-income countries and has picked up since then, but mass immunization of populations will take time.
However, some low-income countries still need to receive a single dose of a vaccine to protect those most at risk from the coronavirus.
A doctor takes notes during a training session offered by Chinese doctors and medical experts on a conference call in Maputo, Mozambique, May 21, 2020. Chinese obstetricians and pediatricians share their experiences with Mozambican doctors about the prevention and treatment of Covid-19 in pregnant women and children through a conference call at the Maputo Central Hospital.
Never Zuguo | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images
A report released last month by the Economist Intelligence Unit forecast that most of the adult populations in advanced economies would be vaccinated by the middle of next year. In contrast, this period extends to early 2023 for many middle-income countries and even until 2024 for some low-income countries.
It underscores the scale of the challenge of bringing the pandemic under control worldwide.
“Covid-19 is an endemic human infection. The scientific reality is that in so many people infected worldwide, the virus continues to mutate,” said Dr. Jeremy Farrar, Director of Wellcome and member of Scientific in the UK Emergency Advisory Group (Sage).
“However, living with this virus does not mean we cannot control it. We need to learn lessons and act quickly from 2020 onwards. Every day counts,” he added.
Reconciling our lives with endemic diseases
“I think it’s good to put this into context and think about the other infectious diseases that are endemic today,” Heymann said during an online event Wednesday when asked if policy makers were responding to the Covid pandemic should watch out for other endemic diseases.
He cited tuberculosis and HIV, as well as four endemic coronaviruses that are known to cause colds.
“We’ve learned how to deal with all of these infections, we’ve learned how to do our own risk assessments. We have vaccines for some, we have therapeutics for others, we have diagnostic tests that can help us all do a better job . ” living with these infections. “
“There are some unknowns that make it very difficult for political and public health leaders to make decisions about the best strategies, resulting in us not fully understanding ‘long covid’ and its implications or effects even after the very occurrence minor infections, “he continued.
“So it’s not about that it is a special disease. This is one of many that we have to reconcile our lives with and understand how we have to deal with influenza and other infections,” said Heymann.
A nurse (R) checks a computer with the hospital director, Doctor Yutaka Kobayashi, in the coronavirus ward of Sakura General Hospital in Oguchi, Japan on February 10, 2021. The hospital, like many others in Japan, has seen a constant influx of Covid-19 coronavirus patients over the past year as the country grapples with the ongoing virus pandemic.
Carl Court | Getty Images News | Getty Images
The term “Long Covid” refers to patients who, after initially contracting the virus, suffer from a prolonged illness with symptoms such as shortness of breath, migraines and chronic fatigue.
Public discourse on the pandemic has largely focused on people with serious or fatal illness, while persistent medical problems resulting from the virus are often either underestimated or misunderstood.
Last month, the largest global study to date on Long Covid found that many of those who suffer from the persistent illness after contracting the virus were unable to work at full capacity six months later.