Coronavirus pandemic could last up to two years: study

Experts who participated in the study believe the pandemic will not stop until around 60 to 70 percent of the population becomes immune to the virus.

    2020/05/05

NSFW    MINNEAPOLIS — A report by the University of Minnesota's Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy published last Thursday predicts that the coronavirus pandemic could last from 18 to 24 months.

Experts who participated in the study believe the pandemic will not stop until around 60 to 70 percent of the population becomes immune to the virus.

The coronavirus's longer incubation period and high R0, or reproduction number, make it a highly contagious virus. According to a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases, COVID-19's R0 is a median of 5.7, meaning an infected individual can spread the virus to five to six people.

The study suggests all authorities should prepare for the worst-case scenario or scenario 2, which according to their study is one where the first wave of the spread is followed by a larger wave in the fall or winter of this year.

The researchers posed two other scenarios. Scenario 1 sees small waves of the virus similar in impact occur for about one to two years. In this scenario, the virus slowly stops spreading sometime in 2021.

The third scenario described in the study suggests the first wave we experienced this spring becomes a "slow burn" — depending on the mitigation strategies imposed in different places.

What about after it is all "done"? The study says that SARS-CoV-2 will potentially continue to hang around us humans, popping in and out seasonally with a "diminished severity over time," just like other viruses do. Let's hope that day comes sooner rather than later.
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