Leading disease experts expect the United States and other countries with high vaccination and natural immunity rates to gain a measure of control over COVID-19 by the end of 2022, according to Reuters.
The basics: Importantly, that doesn’t mean that the virus will disappear or cease to be a threat, but rather that it will transition into a less harmful endemic disease, perhaps a seasonal threat like the flu. It’s also possible that the virus could become an illness like the measles; still harmful, but largely only among unvaccinated populations.
Timeline for success: Experts predict the current delta wave in the U.S. will end this month and will mark the final COVID-19 surge to emerge from the pandemic.
- Epidemiologists from the World Health Organization predict that between now and the end of 2022, we will see a marked decrease in severe illness and death from the virus on a global scale.
- The WHO hopes to vaccinate 70% of the world’s population by the end of 2022.
Warning for the future: Scientists warned that there is still a small “doomsday scenario” possibility that the virus continues to mutate in unvaccinated groups, leading to the emergence of a new variant that evades herd immunity. This scenario is a reminder of the importance of vaccination, which helps prevent the virus from circulating and mutating further.
Moving in the right direction: The WHO recently released a report that shows COVID-19 cases and deaths have been decreasing in all regions of the world since August.