If Covid-19 becomes an endemic disease with a relatively low level of danger, then people in all parts of the world learn to live safely with the epidemic, then the acute phase of the pandemic will likely change. At the end, Covid-19 will no longer “dominate” our lives.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 2022 could be the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, because the past two years we have known the virus very well and we have had tools for epidemic control.
Two years ago when people around the world gathered to welcome the new year, that is also when a new global threat emerged. Since then, there have been 5.44 million deaths (as of the end of December 2021), but the actual number is much higher. In addition, there are millions of people dealing with the long-term consequences of the pandemic.
Currently, the Delta and Omicron mutations are still spreading widely, leading to a spike in hospitalizations. WHO is concerned that the Omicron strain discovered in November 2021 is more contagious than Delta, which could lead to “a tsunami”.
At the beginning of 2021, at a meeting between the world’s largest economies G7 and G20, WHO posed the challenge to leaders to complete the Covid-19 vaccination for 40% of the population. in 2021 and 70% of the population by mid-2022. As of the end of 2021, 92 of the 194 member states have failed to meet this target. There is still a shortage of vaccine supplies in less developed countries. The head of WHO also warned that the development of developed countries giving people the 3rd and 4th booster injections could cause low-income countries to once again lack vaccine sources. With the goal of covering 70% of the world’s population by early July 2022, WHO is calling on all countries in the world to unite and share.
If the pandemic continues, new variants may become completely resistant to the current vaccine, so new vaccine “updates” are needed. This also means a shortage of new supply.
As evidence to date shows, the Omicron strain replicates itself 70 times faster in tissues lining the airways, this could facilitate human-to-human transmission. But in lung tissues, Omicron replicates 10 times slower than the original version of the coronavirus, which may contribute to less severe disease. The scientists’ analysis shows that this combination of characteristics will lead to Omicron replacing Delta as the dominant variant in the next few months.
This baseline situation has the potential to place serious strain on the health care systems of many countries. The optimistic scenario shows that the severity of the epidemic will only be close to the level that occurred in the past 6 months. Meanwhile, a pessimistic view will show that the burden of disease due to new mutations will be heavier than the past 6 months.
Under any scenario, the future of the Covid-19 pandemic largely depends on how society responds to it. Three potentially important levers in pandemic response include: scaling up the delivery of treatments such as the use of the antiviral drug Molnupiravir, an inhibitory capsule drug. replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in human cells. In other words, Molnupiravir forces the virus’s replication machinery to make a lot of mistakes so that the virus can’t replicate.
The next lever is the booster shot, which is especially important to protect the human body against the Omicron variant, so all countries need to accelerate the booster shot for the entire population. people. That means we will have to continue to vaccinate in the future. It is unclear whether future vaccines will be similar to current vaccines or will be adapted to be able to fight new variants. Scientists are currently working on a vaccine against all coronavirus strains as well as SARS-CoV-2 variants. Some experts believe that the Covid-19 vaccine may need to be given every year, similar to the flu shot. If new variants are constantly emerging, the annual booster shot can be adjusted to counter whichever variant is dominant at the time.
The third lever is drawn from the lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic prevention and control experiences of countries in the past 2 years, so it is necessary to find the right combination of public health measures.
When “living” with Covid-19 requires us to change our thinking, we cannot expect the virus to completely disappear. Instead, everyone needs to work to minimize the health and economic consequences of the pandemic in order to continue living post-pandemic. The risk posed by Covid-19 is so low that people do not need to consider it much in making important decisions. It will no longer be a serious problem when you make decisions to work at the office, go to the football stadium, or go to the cinema at the cinema.