A few days ago, the executive director of The World Health Organization’s Emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan reassessed our road to normalcy in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have a new virus entering the population for the first time, therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it,” explained Dr. Ryan. “It’s important to put this on the table: This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away. It’s important to be realistic regarding the course of the current coronavirus pandemic: I don’t think anyone can predict when or if this disease will disappear.”
Epidemiologically speaking, diseases are characterized by their attack rate among a population, An endemic defines an infection that is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a given community without an obvious external impetus.
Sporadic infections occur infrequently and irregularly. Endemics demonstrate a constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease within a geographic area. Epidemics denote a sharp increase in the number of transmissions of a disease or more than what’s typically expected for the affected population in that area. And lastly, Pandemics are epidemics that have spread over several countries or continents, affecting a large number of people.
In respect to COVID-19 were likely looking at various articulations of steady transmission rates in the US.
Research on herd immunity is promising but ultimately limited. Although similarly acting viruses have reacted to sharp seasonal changes in the past, SARS-CoV-2 has thus far evidenced a resolute constitution. Even if its pathology is punitively affected by the summer months, virologists have voiced principled concern in regards to ensuing waves.
Diseases like chickenpox occur with some regularity in the US, while established common cold-causing coronaviruses and the seasonal flu circulate during a few specific months of the year and then subside during other months.
“HIV has not gone away but we’ve come to terms with the virus and we’ve found the therapies and we’ve found the prevention methods and people don’t feel as scared as they did before,” Dr. Ryan added. “Now modern medicine is offering long, healthy lives to people with HIV.”
As intimated by Dr. Ryan, the future of the SARS-CoV-2 pathogen is hard to predict as it is a sophisticated mutation of previously studied coronaviruses.
The average carrier exposes viral debris to roughly three new hosts before incubation is complete. The majority of infected subjects recover without the need for medical intervention. However, SARS-CoV-2’S atypical replication cycle causes the immune system of some carriers to overreact, leading to neuropathies, cognitive disturbances, and body aches.
Another subset of patients (namely the elderly and the immune-deficient) develop acute respiratory distress syndrome and succumb to the illness between 14 and 21 days.
Supportive care is the only medical countermeasures for Covid-19, though targeted therapeutics are primarily focusing on antibody potential and S-protein spikes that facilitate the virus’s bonding process.
Most reasoned analysis agrees that complete viral suppression will not precede the development of a shortlist of effective vaccinations.