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February 12, 2021 @ 14:31 +03:00
A growing chorus of physicians and public health officials have warned that even with the mass rollout of safe and effective Covid-19 vaccines, the disease may become endemic. White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel and the World Health Organization’s Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program Dr. Mike Ryan have all said in recent 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, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, had warned the virus appeared to be on course to become endemic late last year. He reaffirmed his position earlier this week during a webinar for think tank Chatham House.
“I think if you speak with most epidemiologists and most public health workers, they would say today that they believe this disease will become endemic, at least in the short term and most likely in the long term,” he said. Heymann is the chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards and led the health agency’s infectious disease unit during the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003. He cautioned it was not yet possible to be sure of the virus’s destiny since its outcome depends on many unknown factors. “Right now, the emphasis is on saving lives, which it should be, and on making sure that hospitals are not overburdened with Covid patients — and this will be possible moving forward,” Heymann said, citing the mass rollout of Covid vaccines.
Doctors warn Covid will become endemic and people need to learn to live with it, CNBC, Feb 12