When and how will the COVID pandemic end?

By Paul Rowney on 30th Jun 2020

While there is no certainty about when the COVID pandemic will end, or at least fall to a manageable level, experts are now weighing in with likely scenarios and estimates. There are so many variables across the USA alone, never mind international factors, that any estimates are likely to be approximate.

One thing is for sure, it will be a long period and will not – unlike other ‘natural disasters’ – conclude over a short time. There are various ways experts are trying to track the spread-and the path and progress of the pandemic.

One measure they use is the number of cases being admitted to hospitals – or ‘projected peak resource’, as a method of calculating the virus’s effect on the population.

‍According to website www.talktomira.com: “The projected dates for peak hospital resources can be found on their website. The dates will change daily or weekly so be sure to check back for the most up-to-date information. Some peak dates are estimated to occur in the fall, as the virus may be spread more easily once cities are reopened and social distancing protocols are relaxed.

Most recent data is from June 13th, 2020, and at that time for Tennessee the date was: October 1st. So it’s going to be a while!

There are three phases of reopening according to the CDC. Each state has a different timeline for reopening. As of June 22, New York City, the most impacted area by COVID-19, has entered Phase 2. Several states, especially those in the Mid-West and the Southeast, had entered Phase 3, effectively reopened. Nashville has just returned to Phase 2.

But with different Countries, States and Counties all changing their ‘phased’ opening dates each will see COVID’S spread and eventual slow down at different speeds and times. This means social distancing, contact tracing, and other public health measures could last up to 2-3 months post ‘peak dates’.

Another method of forecasting when the Coronavirus outbreak will end is a scientific definition – when the daily death rate drops below 0.3 per million – a common indicator of the end of this pandemic in individual states. Based on this:

Prediction programs estimate that the spread of COVID-19 on a global scale will end by December 2020; however, with the implementation of social distancing, wearing masks, and antibody/PCR tests, the United States will begin functioning again before there is a vaccine.”

Will There Be A Second Wave?
At this point, it is hard to tell: “If the Coronavirus COVID-19 will return as an annual disease (like the Flu). For a seasoned wave to occur, there needs to be a sustained rise in new infections.

While there are cautionary warnings across the globe, we will need to see more evidence that there is a sustained increase in cases, not just temporary. However, according to the data, it is likely that many States will see another peak during the fall season, as schools reopen, cities resume normal function, and social distancing requirements are eased.” For more on this go to: www.talktomira.com

Take this quiz to see how much you know about Corona Virus!

According to CNBC in a recent article: “Scientists presented three possible ways the virus might continue to spread in the years to come. In the first scenario, the first wave of the coronavirus would last through spring 2020 to be followed by “a series of repetitive smaller waves” occurring throughout the summer and then consistently over a one to two-year period. The virus would then gradually diminish “sometime in 2021.

The second scenario would see the first wave of the coronavirus in the spring followed by a larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020. One or smaller waves would come afterward in 2021, the report said.

Under the final scenario, the first wave would be followed by a “slow burn” of ongoing transmission but without a clear wave pattern. The pattern would vary geographically and may be influenced by the degree of mitigation measures in place in different regions. However, the report’s authors said this situation would be unlikely to require the reinstatement of mitigation measures, although new cases and deaths would continue to occur. “Whichever scenario the pandemic follows — assuming at least some level of ongoing mitigation measures — we must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant Covid-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas,”

What about a vaccine?
Work to develop a vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 is well underway around the world. There are currently at least 102 vaccines in development globally, according to the WHO, but experts have predicted a vaccine will take 12 to 18 months to be rolled out to the market.

“One of the most promising formulas is from Moderna, who just announced early but positive results from the first phase of their clinical trial. Realistically, we’re looking at summer or fall of 2021 for the protection to be ready”. According to an article in Men’s Health. It continues:

“The formula likely won’t protect 100 percent of people, and 100 percent of people certainly won’t get the vaccine. Typically, you need 60 to 80 percent of people to have been exposed and have fought off the virus (or been vaccinated) for herd immunity to be effective. This could take up to two years. That idea is supported by a recent study in Science, where Harvard researchers reported that with countries going in and out of social distancing and lockdowns over the coming months, we’re looking at 2022 to build up enough of population immunity.

That means Spring 2022 is most likely the earliest we’ll have both a widely-available and effective vaccine for the virus and a dominant worldwide immunity to further stunt the spread”.

Finally, an article in Scientific American sums it up: “Projections about how COVID-19 will play out are speculative, but the end game will most likely involve a mix of everything that checked past pandemics: 50% will come from continued social-control measures to buy time, new antiviral medications to ease symptoms and a vaccine. The exact formula—how long control measures such as social distancing must stay in place, for instance—depends in large part on how strictly people obey restrictions and how effectively governments respond.

The other 50% will probably come from science. It will take a vaccine to stop transmission. That will take time—probably a year from now. Still, there is reason to think a vaccine could work effectively. But unless a vaccine is administered to all of the world’s eight billion inhabitants who are not currently sick or recovered, COVID-19 is likely to become endemic. It will circulate and make people sick seasonally—sometimes very sick. But if the virus stays in the human population long enough, it will start to infect children when they are young. Those cases are typically, though not always, quite mild, and so far the children appear less likely to develop the severe disease if they get reinfected as adults. The combination of vaccination and natural immunity will protect many of us. The coronavirus, like most viruses, will live on—but not as a planetary plague”.

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