Although we have other pandemics to base predictions on, in many ways COVID has shown itself to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. Nevertheless, countless experts have made forecasts about our future with the virus. Most recently, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel made a scary prediction about coronavirus: He believes COVID will be with us “forever,” becoming an endemic disease. For a look at the future of COVID, keep reading, and for more on containing the virus, These 3 Things Could Prevent Almost All COVID Cases, Study Finds.
CNBC reports that during a panel discussion at the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on Jan. 13, Bancel shared his vision of the future of COVID. “SARS-CoV-2 is not going away,” Bancel said. “We are going to live with this virus, we think, forever.” Experts call this “endemic,” meaning the virus is ever-present and circulating at low levels but only occasionally causing severe illness. And for a brighter prediction of the future, COVID Will Be “Dramatically Better” by This Date, FDA Official Says.
A study published in Science on Jan. 12 created a model to help predict the trajectory of COVID. According to the study, “once the endemic phase is reached and primary exposure is in childhood, CoV-2 may be no more virulent than the common cold.” Although the virus poses a significant threat now, the researchers are confident it will eventually be largely harmless, barring an emergent strain that causes severe disease in children.
COVID is currently wreaking so much havoc because it’s a foreign pathogen that very few people have immunity to. Once the majority of people are vaccinated or exposed to the virus, COVID will likely shift to being an endemic illness. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
The protection from the virus needed to make it an endemic will be achieved mostly through vaccinations. Bancel said he predicts the U.S. will be one of the first large countries to gain “sufficient protection” from COVID.
The vaccines being distributed in the U.S. currently have very high efficacy rates. However, Bancel said officials will have to be vigilant for new strains of the virus so scientists can create vaccines in response to those variants. And for more on the coronavirus vaccine, Dr. Fauci Just Gave This Warning About COVID Vaccine Side Effects.
COVID won’t be the first endemic coronavirus swirling around the population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) names four common coronaviruses that regularly infect people, giving them mild symptoms. And for more on the spread of this particular coronavirus, The CDC Says If You’re This Age, You’re Now More Likely to Catch COVID.