Experts warned in the briefing that the coronavirus pandemic is “not necessarily the big one” and that the world will adjust to living with Covid-19.
Professor David Heymann, the chair of the WHO’s strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazard said the coronavirus will become endemic. “The world has hoped for herd immunity, that somehow transmission would be decreased if enough persons were immune,” he said.
Other experts spoke out as well. The head of the WHO emergencies program, Dr Mike Ryan, said, “The likely scenario is the virus will become another endemic virus that will remain somewhat of a threat, but a very low-level threat in the context of an effective global vaccination program. It remains to be seen how well the vaccines are taken up, how close we get to a coverage level that might allow us the opportunity to go for elimination,” he said. “The existence of a vaccine, even at high efficacy, is no guarantee of eliminating or eradicating an infectious disease. That is a very high bar for us to be able to get over.”
In a wrap up to 2020, experts also spoke about the fragile planet and the upcoming threat of pandemics.
“This pandemic has been very severe … it has affected every corner of this planet. But this is not necessarily the big one,” Ryan said, “This is a wake-up call. We are learning, now, how to do things better: science, logistics, training and governance, how to communicate better. But the planet is fragile. We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue. If there is one thing we need to take from this pandemic, with all of the tragedy and loss, is we need to get our act together. We need to honour those we’ve lost by getting better at what we do every day.”
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