What will happen to pandemics? Omicron clouds predicts the endgame

Even though omicron complicates the question of when a pandemic will end, it does happen. It won't be as simple as flipping a switch to turn on a light bulb. The world will have learn to live with a virus that isn't going away.

What will happen to pandemics? Omicron clouds predicts the endgame

The highly contagious omicron mutant is causing panic and pushing cases to new heights. This time we aren't starting from scratch.

Even if they can't prevent mild infections, vaccines provide strong protection against serious illness. Omicron is not as dangerous as other variants. It will provide some protection from other viruses that are still in circulation, and possibly the next one.

The latest variant is a warning about the future, said Dr. Albert Ko at Yale School of Public Health. He's an infectious disease specialist.

Ko said that COVID "will be with us forever." "We won't be able eradicate COVID forever, so we need to define our goals."

The World Health Organization will decide when enough countries have reduced their COVID-19 incidences sufficiently, or at the very least, hospitalizations, to declare the pandemic over. It is not clear what this threshold will look like.

Even if that happens, certain parts of the world will still struggle -- particularly low-income countries without enough vaccines and treatments -- while others can easily transition into what scientists call an "endemic state".

These distinctions are not clear, according to Stephen Kissler, an infectious disease expert at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He describes the endemic period to be "some kind of acceptable steady state" in order to combat COVID-19.

Although the omicron crisis has shown us that we are not yet there, he stated that he believes we will reach a point when SARS-CoV-2 becomes endemic just like flu.

COVID-19, on the other hand, has killed over 800,000 Americans within two years, while flu usually kills between 12,000 to 52,000 people per year.

It is not scientifically possible to know how much COVID-19-related death and illness the world will continue to endure. This is a largely social question.

Dr. Amesh Adalja is a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "We are not going to get there where it's 2019 again." "We have to encourage people to consider risk tolerance."

Dr. Anthony Fauci is the leading U.S. expert on infectious diseases and is looking forward to controlling the virus in a way that "does not disrupt society or disrupt the economy."

Already, the U.S. signals it is on the right track to the new normal. Biden's administration claims there are enough tools, including vaccine boosters, new treatment options and masking, to deal with even the omicron threat. This is in contrast to the earlier shutdowns that were necessary for the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reduced the time people with COVID-19 need to be isolated so that they don't spread the disease to others by reducing it from five days to five. This is because they have already shown they are most contagious.

India provides a glimpse into what it is like to reach a stable COVID-19 level. Until recently, daily cases were below 10,000 per day for six months, but that was only after the "too traumatizing to calculate" cost of the earlier delta variant. Dr. T. Jacob John is former chief of virology at Christian Medical College, southern India.

Omicron is causing a new rise in cases. The country will distribute booster vaccines to frontline workers in January. John stated that other endemic diseases such as flu or measles can cause outbreaks, and the coronavirus will continue its rise even after Omicron is gone.

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