It is stated that the end of the pandemic is in sight and that we could soon start living a normal life. However, you can not just crack your fingers to get rid of the virus. Instead, we will have to get used to a new word – endemic. Endemic or endemic disease is a pathology that is permanently present in a certain area or in a certain population.
Endemics can be present in a smaller but constant number of cases in the same territory or they can occur in the form of smaller epidemics, which always affect the same area and recur over time.
“It is almost certain that we are at the end of the pandemic, this is the beginning of the end, at least in the United Kingdom. “I think in 2022 our lives will almost completely return to the pre-pandemic state,” said Professor Julian Hiscoks of the University of Liverpool.
What has changed is our immunity. The coronavirus appeared in Wuhan two years ago and we were vulnerable then. It was a completely new virus with which our immune system had no contact, and we had no vaccines or drugs that could help fight it. Covid has exploded around the world.
From the beginning, there were two options – either we would exterminate the corona, as was done with Ebola in West Africa, or the virus would calm itself down but stay with us for a long time and join the series of endemic infections that are always present – from the common cold through HIV, measles and malaria to tuberculosis.
The second option seemed inevitable from the beginning as it was an airborne virus.
“Endemicity is embedded in this virus. I am very optimistic. We will soon be in a situation where the virus is circulating, while taking care to protect the most vulnerable, while for everyone else we will accept that they will be infected. “Nothing will happen to the average person,” said Dr Elizabeth Gropelli, a virologist at St George ‘s University in London.
Epidemiologists usually consider an infection to be endemic when its spread is consistent and predictable. Azra Ghani, an epidemiologist at Imperial College London, says we will soon see that we no longer have to limit our lives, but that the curse will still be with us.
“It seems like it took us a long time, but only a year ago we started getting vaccinated and we are much freer because of that,” she said. The only thing that can make the situation worse is a new strain that would overpower the omicron and cause a much more severe clinical picture. It is important to note that if the infection is endemic, it does not necessarily mean that the disease is mild.
“We have some really bad deadly infectious diseases that we consider endemic. Measles has been endemic for millennia, yet it has killed a third of all those infected. “Malaria is endemic and causes 600,000 deaths each year.”
When it comes to Covid-19, there are already visible signs that it is becoming less and less deadly over time as human organisms “get to know” the coronavirus and “learn” how to fight it. Many older and more vulnerable people are expected to die during the coronavirus endemic phase.
Some British experts expect that the restrictions will not be lifted, and mass testing for the coronavirus will end this year. It is almost certain that additional vaccines for the vulnerable will arrive in the fall to strengthen their protection during the winter.
“We have to accept the fact that the flu season will also be a coronavirus season, and that will be a challenge for us,” said Dr Gropelli. It is important to note that poorer countries are still waiting for vaccines for their most vulnerable citizens – so some countries are not yet close to the end of the pandemic.
The World Health Organization has made it clear that the world is far from describing Covid-19 as an endemic species. “The world is still a pandemic and an acute state of emergency,” Dr Gropelli told the BBC.