A leading infectious disease specialist has predicted that the coronavirus will continue to spread until about two-thirds of the world’s population is infected.
Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, published the terrible prediction in an interview with USA Today on Monday.
“We all have to face the fact that there is no quick fix, other than a vaccine, which will make this go away,” he said. “We will live with it. And we don’t have this discussion at all.
Osterholm said that without a vaccine, which is likely to be over a year away, the virus will continue to spread until it is stopped by collective immunity, which he says is triggered after 60 to 70%. of the infected population.
Dr. Michael Osterholm (left), director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, published the terrible prediction in an interview on Monday.
“This fucking virus will continue until it infects everyone,” said Osterholm. “It surely won’t slow down until it reaches 60 to 70%. “
Collective immunity prevents the spread of a pathogen when enough of the population is immunized to cut their ability to infect new carriers.
Post-coronavirus immunity is not yet well understood, but people who recover from closely related SARS and MERS are usually immune for several years.
Osterholm said that even if the cases decrease during the summer, it could be a sign that the coronavirus is seasonal, like the flu, and that the cases may come back in the fall.
“This is the big woodpecker that will really make us,” he said. “As much pain, suffering, death and economic disruption as we have known, 5 to 20% of those infected have been infected … It’s a long way to reach 60 to 70%.”
Antibody tests in New York indicate that about 20% of the population, or 2.6 million people, have been infected and safely recovered from the coronavirus.
Doctors bring patient in severe respiratory distress to group home ambulance next to Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on Monday
The coronavirus causes mild or no symptoms in many people, but for the elderly and those with underlying conditions, it can lead to serious complications or death.
Osterholm’s predictions come as many states debate how to try to reopen their economies, weighing the threat of the virus against the economic devastation caused by the blockages.
At least 30 million Americans have been unemployed since the start of the epidemic, causing unemployment to drop to its highest level since the Great Depression.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus has killed more than 82,000 people in the United States, and nearly 1.4 million people have tested positive for the infection.
Osterholm acknowledges that the nation “cannot lock in for 18 months” and said that political and business leaders must find a way to resume operations while adapting to a virus that will not go away soon.
His warnings echo the latest projections from White House infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, who said another wave of the virus was “inevitable.”
Osterholm is the co-author of a recent article that predicts that the pandemic will persist for 18 to 24 months.
Only after about two-thirds of the population has been infected and collective immunity has been reached will the disease eventually die out, the newspaper said.
For the article, the authors studied the four influenza pandemics that have occurred since the start of the 20th century – in 1918-19, 1957, 1968 and 2009-10.
Basing their modeling on these past examples, scientists predict three potential scenarios of how this epidemic is likely to unfold.
In the first scenario, the epidemic will continue in a series of “peaks and valleys”, gradually decreasing over time until it goes out in 2021.
“The occurrence of these waves can vary geographically and may depend on the mitigation measures in place and how they are mitigated,” said the report.
In the first scenario, the epidemic will continue in a series of “peaks and valleys”, gradually decreasing over time until it goes out in 2021
Worst case scenario: In the second scenario, the current epidemic will be overshadowed by a much larger peak in the fall or winter of this year, echoing the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-1919.
The third and final scenario is what scientists call “slow combustion”, where the virus gradually decreases without defined waves
“Depending on the height of the wave peaks, this scenario may require periodic reinstitution and further relaxation of mitigation measures over the next 1 to 2 years.”
In the second scenario, the current epidemic will be overshadowed by a much larger peak in the fall or winter of this year in response to the Spanish influenza pandemic of 1918-1919.
Smaller peaks will then follow before the infection rate is fought with more locking measures.
“This model will require the reintroduction of mitigation measures in the fall to reduce the spread of infections and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed,” the scientists wrote.
The third and final scenario is what scientists call “slow combustion”, where the virus gradually decreases without defined waves.
Although cases and deaths would continue to occur, it is not believed that this scenario would warrant a total reimposition of the lock.