On Wednesday, the World Health Organization said the Covid-19 could become an endemic like HIV. According to WHO, it can’t be predicted how long the virus would keep circulating, and a massive effort is required to encounter it.
WHO emergencies expert Mike Ryan told an online briefing that the virus might never go away; it may become just another endemic virus in our communities.
He added that it’s important to be realistic, and no one can predict when COVID-19 will disappear. No promises or dates can be told. The novel coronavirus may stay with us for long.
However, he said the world had some control over how it coped with the disease, although this would take a “massive effort” even if a vaccine was found — a prospect he described as a “massive moonshot.”
Despite the difficulties of finding effective vaccines against COVID-19, more than 100 potential vaccines are being developed, including many candidates already in clinical trials.
Vaccines for diseases like measles exist, but those aren’t eliminated yet, Ryan added.
In order to lower the assessment of risk, “very significant control” of the virus was required. Ryan said it had remained high at the global, national, and regional levels.
While fighting the deadly virus that killed 291,000 and infected more than 4.5 million people around the globe, the governments are struggling with the question of how to reopen their economies.
A gradual reopening of borders within the bloc has been recommended by the European Union to rescue some of the summer tourist seasons, while still keeping people safe.
But to avoid new outbreaks, extreme caution is needed, say public health experts. Easing air travel would be much risky than opening land borders, as it is a very different challenge, Ryan added.
WHO epidemiologist Maria van Kerkhove said that we need to get into the mindset that it is going to take some time to come out of this pandemic”.