Joseph R. Anticaglia MD
Medical Advisory Board
As the incidence of COVID-19 slopes downward in the United States and the vaccination rates climb, a sense of relief and normalcy is returning to the country. You can make indoor restaurant reservations more easily, fly across the nation, take part in sporting events outdoors or indoors, attend religious services and in person schooling is set to resume at the end of the summer throughout the U. S.
The United States, Canada and the European Union have recently reported a significant drop in the seven-day average of COVID (SARS-CoV2), cases. Australia reported on May 27. 2021 a seven-day average of nine new cases per day with no deaths. Other countries have also done well in combating this coronavirus.
A sense of optimism is rippling across vaccine rich countries but COVID and its variants are not going away. What will the virus look like in countries such as Canada or the U. S.?
Experts predict COVID-19 cases in the U. S. will not disappear but may transition to become a seasonal disease resembling influenza. There will not be “lockdowns” or huge disruptions of routine daily activities in vaccinated countries. At this time, authorities cannot tell us how long a vaccinated person will have immunity against COVID. “Booster shots” may be recommended in the deltoids, the upper arm muscles of people to ward off this disease.
In contrast, India over the past several months has been struggling to contain the onslaught of a COVID-19 variant. The variant, coupled with a low percentage of fully vaccinated people in India, have triggered a lethal outbreak. It has resulted in thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of new cases crippling its public health system.
But the COVID variant in India is not content to remain in that country. An article in Nature noted, “Since the SARS-CoV-2 variant known as (B. I.617) first reported in India late last year, it has spread to dozens of other countries — the United States, Singapore and the United Kingdom, where it has become dominant in some regions. Key questions remain about how quickly variants can spread, their potential to evade immunity and how they might affect the course of the disease.”
When Will the Pandemic End?
Another question is when will the international community join forces to prevent the pandemic — the spread of the coronavirus from one country to other countries? The pandemic will abate globally if the vaccination rates increase significantly along with the use of common-sense safety measures. COVID remains a deadly virus, in essence, because of a worldwide shortage of vaccines and low numbers of vaccinations. Furthermore, this virus can mutate, migrate, target, and outfox unvaccinated people.
COVID-19 is not going away. It will continue to travel across borders relentlessly until fortunate countries provide equitable access to vaccines and the wherewithal to achieve worldwide immunity. The pandemic will not end until it ends in each country.
Epidemic or outbreak refers to an increase in the amount of disease in a community that rises above what is normally expected in that population. An epidemic may result from:
- A recent introduction of a virus or bacteria into a community.
- A new mutation of the infectious agent
- An increase in the virulence of the pathogen
- Greater ease of transmission of the infectious agent.
Pandemic refers to an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents affecting a large number of people.
Endemic refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.
- CDC Principle of Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Lesson, one, Section 11, Third Edition
- Adam, David; What scientists know about new, fast-spreading coronavirus variant. Nature News, 24May2021
This article is intended solely as a learning experience. Please consult your physician for diagnostic and treatment options.