New modeling results from a consortium of researchers advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) believe that the COVID-19 pandemic will be over by 2022. However, there are many factors that would decide when the end of the pandemic will be reached.
What Experts Are Saying
Katriona Shea, a professor of biology and alumni professor in the biological sciences at Penn State, shared that the experts are looking at a projected decline of COVID-19 in the United States because of the availability of vaccines to children ages five to 11. The vaccine will be most likely available in the next few weeks. Shea said that because of the “increasing number of people that are now immune due to either vaccination or natural exposure to the virus,” the decline will be seen, Futurity reported.
The research team also examined four potential scenarios to arrive at their estimates. These scenarios included whether childhood vaccine uptake will be high and whether a more infectious new coronavirus variant will emerge.
According to Shea, “the most likely scenario is that children age 5 to 11 will be approved for vaccination and that no new superspreading variant will emerge.” “In this case, by March 2022, COVID-19 infections across the United States could slowly and steadily drop from about 140,000 per day today to about 9,000 per day, and deaths could decline from about 1,500 per day today to fewer than 100 per day,” she added.
She said that these numbers are similar to those that characterized the United States in March 2020 when the virus was just starting to spread throughout the country. They are also lower than the numbers seen in the country earlier this summer, after the COVID-19 vaccines had been available for several months and before the Delta variant had begun to spread at an alarming rate.
“The most likely scenario does not project a winter surge,” Shea said.
A Reminder From The Researchers
Shea and her team emphasized that the estimates they are giving are not forecasts. She noted that they are just thinking about what-ifs and integrated mathematical computations regarding the outcome. She also reiterated, “There’s a lot that could change. If we see a new variant or any other unexpected things happen, these long-term trends may not hold. The virus has surprised us again and again.”
Immunity Is Important
Another expert shared with Healthline that immunity is a significant factor to see the end of the pandemic. Dr. Charles Bailey, a medical director for infection prevention at Providence Mission Hospital and Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County, California, said that there is evidence that natural immunity is at least as protective as immunity produced by vaccination.
He said that a single dose can further boost a person’s natural immunity. “These facts should be taken into account when national and international vaccination policies are developed.”