Will coronavirus end and could Covid-19 get worse?

THE World Health Organisation hopes the coronavirus pandemic will be shorter than the 1918 Spanish flu and last less than two years.

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates reckons the Covid-19 pandemic will be over by the end of 2021. We look at what the experts predict.

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Will coronavirus end?

With many of us struggling to get through the seemingly never-ending coronavirus pandemic, there is positive news from some experts.

They say the pandemic will eventually die down – but the bug itself is unlikely to be wiped out.

White House coronavirus adviser Dr Anthony Fauci says three things have to happen to stem the pandemic.

They are, "a combination of good public health measures, a degree of global herd immunity and a good vaccine".

The expert adds he feels "cautiously optimistic that… when we put all three of those together, we will get control of this.

"Whether it's this year or next year, I'm not certain. [But] I don't really see us eradicating it."

WHO's chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, predicts there won't be enough coronavirus vaccines for life to return fully to normal until 2022, reports the China Morning Post.

But WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that if the world unites and succeeds in finding a vaccine, the pandemic could last less than two years.

Ending the pandemic will take worldwide access to Covid-19 treatment and vaccines – "which means putting ethics before profits", says Prof Nicole Hassoun, Binghamton University, New York.

"Experts worry that any Covid-19 vaccine is likely to have a high price tag and, as a result, be unequally distributed according to countries’ purchasing power, not need," she warns in The Conversation.

The researcher adds: "Unequal access to Covid-19 medicines isn’t just a moral problem.

"In a global pandemic, an outbreak anywhere threatens people everywhere."

Philanthropist Bill Gates says the pandemic will finish by the end of 2021 – but not before killing millions more.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged more than £270million to fight the pandemic, particularly in the developing world.

Will Covid-19 become a seasonal illness?

A health expert says that the coronavirus will be around "forever in some form or other".

Sir Mark Walport, who is on the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage), says vaccinations will be needed at regular intervals, reports the BBC.

He points out that – when compared to the Spanish flu pandemic – the population is far greater and denser than it was back in 1918.

A research article in Frontiers in Public Health explains: "It remains unclear whether SARS-CoV-2 will eventually become seasonal or will continue to circulate year-round."

The experts say in Frontiers that "nearly every acute viral disease" hits during a "particular season".

The coronavirus "will continue to spread in summer without public health interventions as witnessed in many countries around the world".

They say that it'll likely become a seasonal illness, like the flu, but only when "herd immunity is attained through natural infections and/or vaccinations", to stop the disease's rampage.

Will coronavirus get worse in the UK and will there be a second wave?

The UK's coronavirus cases are rising amid a testing shambles.

Many Brits are currently unable to access tests locally when they develop symptoms.

September has seen rising rates of the big, with last Friday's new cases – 3,539 on the 11th – the highest recorded on any day since May 17.

People have been turning up to A&E to ask for Covid-19 tests after a failure of the test and trace system.

Problems in testing appear to have been caused by a surge in demand, leading to laboratories buckling under the strain of trying to process tests.

This has led to testing slots being curtailed as lab staff work through the backlog.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs on Tuesday, September 15, it would be "a matter of weeks" before Covid-19 testing problems were resolved.

Sir John Bell, regius professor of medicine at Oxford University, says: "What’s going wrong is the second wave.

"A month ago they had spare capacity and testing – significant spare capacity.

"What had been underestimated was the speed at which the second wave would arrive, but also the pressure put on the system from children returning to school."

However, a second wave of the coronavirus “won't be as bad as the first” due to new treatments and local lockdowns, experts have claimed.

Officials say that while cases are on the rise in the UK, the curve will be flatter compared to the start and the peak of the pandemic in March and April.

It comes after the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed that flu and pneumonia is still killing ten times more people in England than Covid-19.

The latest data from the ONS showed that deaths from coronavirus fell below 100 for the first time since March.

Will a vaccine mean the end of Covid?

People may need repeated vaccinations to stay safe from the coronavirus, according to former UK chief scientific adviser Sir Mark Walport.

Sir Mark told the BBC that a global vaccination programme would be needed to control the pandemic itself.

However, the coronavirus wouldn't be a disease like smallpox, "which could be eradicated by vaccination".

The expert adds: "This is a virus that is going to be with us forever in some form or another, and almost certainly will require repeated vaccinations.

"So, a bit like flu, people will need re-vaccination at regular intervals."

WHO is hopeful that a vaccine will be ready internationally by mid-2021, its chief scientist said on September 4.

“Certainly by the middle of 2021, we should start to see some vaccines moving into countries and populations” Soumya Swaminathan said at a news briefing in Geneva.



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