Will SARS-CoV-2 Become Endemic?
As Linda Dahl writes for Elemental, there are signs to suggest that, eventually, Covid-19 will become an endemic illness. This means a disease that’s always present in a population though it will likely be less deadly. She writes:
If you look into the history of endemic diseases, you will see they weren’t always the low-level annoyances they are today. The initial paths they took were usually quite deadly. The strain of influenza that caused the 1918 pandemic is an excellent example. It infected 500 million people and killed as many as 50 million people worldwide. It is considered the most deadly pandemic of all time. It lasted nearly two years and didn’t come to an end until the summer of 1919. But the 1918 flu pandemic didn’t end because of a vaccine — which wasn’t developed until 1942. It ended because those who were infected either died or developed immunity. Influenza never went away. It is airborne and mutates frequently, which is why we have a new version of it — and thus a new vaccine for it — every year. But that initial strain from 1918 is still around. We just don’t get as sick from it anymore.
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