Cold Reality Dawns
The vaccines have raised hope, but the Cold Reality Dawns That Covid Is Likely Here to Stay
Governments and businesses are increasingly accepting what epidemiologists have long warned: The pathogen will circulate for years, or even decades, leaving society to coexist with Covid-19 much as it does with other endemic diseases like flu, measles, and HIV.
The ease with which the coronavirus spreads, the emergence of new strains and poor access to vaccines in large parts of the world mean Covid-19 could shift from a pandemic disease to an endemic one, implying lasting modifications to personal and societal behavior, epidemiologists say.
“Going through the five phases of grief, we need to come to the acceptance phase that our lives are not going to be the same,” said Thomas Frieden, former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “I don’t think the world has really absorbed the fact that these are long-term changes.”
“We assume it would last for years, or be eternal, such as the flu,” said Jiwon Lim, spokesman for South Korea’s SD Biosensor, Inc., a test maker that is ramping up production of at-home diagnostic kits.
Eradication Extremely Difficult
Only one virus has ever been completely eradicated, smallpox.
- Smallpox existed for thousands of years, killed millions, and was fatal in up to 30% of cases.
- It was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination program led by the World Health Organization.
- The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977.
- In 1978, an accident in a research laboratory led to the death of one person from the disease.
In September of 2019, LiveScience reported Two Labs Still House Live Smallpox.
A fire reportedly broke out yesterday (Sept. 16) after an explosion at a secret lab in Russia, one of only two places in the world where the variola virus that causes smallpox is kept. One person was reported injured and transferred to a nearby burn center.
Researchers at the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (also called the Vector Institute), located near Novosibirsk in Siberia, study some scary viruses, including Ebola, anthrax and Marburg.
A Cold War-era bioweapons lab, Vector once housed some 100 buildings and even its own cemetery where a scientist who injected himself with the highly lethal Marburg virus.
The other lab authorized by the World Health Organization to hold smallpox — declared eradicated in 1980 — is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia.
One never knows when a nutcase working in a lab might decide to do something. Accidents can also happen.
Many believe the origin of Covid is from a bio lab in China.
Like the flu, Covid mutations are prone to becoming endemic because they spread through casual actions like breathing and talking.
That makes Covid particularly difficult to eradicate.
Perhaps people will need yearly shots, just like the flu. Regardless, Covid will remain a disruptive force for a long time.