Coronavirus: When the pandemic will end and life will return to normal

Virus, Pathogen, Infection, Biology
The whole world stopped.
Places once teeming with life became ghost towns with strict bans - from city blockades, through school closures, to travel restrictions and bans on mass gatherings.
It is an unprecedented global reaction to a disease. But when will it all end and when will we be able to return to ordinary lives? British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he believes that Great Britain can "turn the tide" against the epidemic in the next 12 weeks and that the country can finally "say goodbye to the coronavirus". Coronavirus - five things you need to know Coronavirus: What are the chances that I will die if I become infected Coronavirus: How to protect yourself, However, even if the number of cases starts to decrease in the next three months, we will still be far from the end. It could be quite sometime before that tide recedes - maybe even a whole year. It is obvious that the current strategy of closing large segments of society is not sustainable in the long run, the social and economic damage would be catastrophic. Countries need an "exit strategy" - a way to lift restrictions and get everything back to normal. But the coronavirus will not go away on its own ...

If you lift the restrictions that curb the virus, then the number of cases will inevitably skyrocket. "We have a big problem in devising an exit strategy and how to get out of all this," said Mark Woolhouse, a professor of viral disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

"No country has exit strategy."

It is a huge scientific and social challenge from which there are essentially three ways out: vaccination that enough people develop immunity after becoming infected or a permanent change in our behavior/society.

Vaccines - at least another 12-18 months

The vaccine should give people immunity so that they do not get sick if they are exposed to the disease.

Immunize enough people, about 60 percent of the population, and the virus cannot cause epidemics - a concept known as collective immunity.

The first person received an experimental vaccine in the United States this week after the researchers were allowed to skip the usual rule of performing previous tests on animals.

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The search for the vaccine has been going on at an unprecedented rate, but there is no guarantee that it will be successful and will require immunization globally.

The closest estimate is that it will separate us from the vaccine for another 12-18 months if everything goes smoothly. It is a long time to wait when you face inviolable peacetime social limitations.

"Waiting for the vaccine should not be called a strategy, it is not a strategy," Professor Woolhouse told the BBC.

Natural immunity - at least two more years

The British short-term strategy is to suppress the number of cases as much as possible in order to prevent hospital overload - when you run out of beds in intensive care, the number of deaths immediately starts to jump. Once the number of cases has been suppressed, this would allow some measures to be lifted for a certain period of time - until the number of cases jumps again and a new round of restrictions has to be introduced. When that could happen is still uncertain. Britain's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Valence, said that at this point, "setting absolute deadlines for anything is not possible." What to do if you experience symptoms of coronavirus Coronavirus: What if the elderly do not accept the advice The devastated sky - how the coronavirus landed planes around the world This tactic can, unintentionally, lead to collective immunity as more and more people become infected with the disease. But for that to happen, it could take years, says Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London.

      But the big question mark is whether that immunity would last. Other coronaviruses, which cause cold symptoms, lead to a very weak immune response, and people can become infected with the same disease several times during their lives.

Alternatives - no clear deadline

"The third option is permanent changes in our behavior that allow us to keep the rate of disease transmission low," says Professor Vulhaus. This could mean keeping some of the measures that have already been introduced. Or the introduction of strict testing and isolation of patients in order to prevent the outbreak of any epidemics. "We worked in the first attempts at early detection and contact search, and it didn't work out," adds Professor Vulhaus. Developing drugs that would successfully treat Kovida-19 infection may help with other strategies. They could be used as soon as people show any symptoms in a process called "disease control" to prevent transmission. Or that patients are treated in an ordinary hospital to make the disease less deadly and to reduce the pressure suffered by intensive care. This would allow countries to deal with more cases before they have to reintroduce blockades. Increasing the number of beds in intensive care would have a similar effect because it would then increase the capacity to cope with larger epidemics. I asked the chief British medical adviser,

Coronavirus: When the pandemic will end and life will return to normal Coronavirus: When the pandemic will end and life will return to normal Reviewed by Hamza Ali on June 21, 2020 Rating: 5

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