Some experts are of the opinion that Covid could eventually become endemic and find a place among common cold viruses. The United States and Norway collaborated and sent out a team of researchers that published an outlook into the future, based on a model of likely outcomes.
It was predicted by the model that Covid will affect the young, primarily, especially if there is long-lasting immunity in alternative age groups. This can happen even if the symptoms are less serious in adults after they contract the infection.
Risk Of Covid Will Shift To Young Children In The Future
The senior author of the study, Dr. Ottar Bjornstad, a professor of Entomology and Biology at Penn State University said that there has been clear evidence of fatality increasing with age.
He added that their modeling suggests that the risk of infection will now move towards children as the adult population becomes immune, either through vaccination or exposure to the virus. The expectations of the researchers are in line with whatever experts have witnessed before.
Respiratory diseases with a past record show that age incidence patterns during virgin epidemics can be very different from endemic circulation.
Ottar cited the 1889-1890 epidemic as an example. In this epidemic, a million individuals were killed. A majority of them were over the age of 70. This flu is known as the Asiatic or Russian flu.
Ottar says that the deadly outbreak may have been caused due to the emergence of the HCV-OC43 virus. This is now an endemic, mild, repeat-infecting cold virus that generally only affects infants between 7-12 months.
Yonatan Grad, Harvard’s Associate Professor says that among respiratory viruses that were introduced to the human population, only a few of them are known which have swept across the globe, and transitioned into an endemic circulation, usually with peaks every year during winter in incidence.
The prediction of the researchers depends on adults developing permanent or long-term immunity against SARS-CoV-2 by getting vaccinated or through prior exposure to the virus.
Ottar and his colleagues advocate getting vaccinated as soon as possible since getting infected by the virus previously is not reliable enough to form a robust immune response.
He said that empirical evidence from seasonal coronaviruses indicates that previous exposure may only bestow short-term immunity to infection again, allowing recurrent outbreaks.
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Along with this, he also said that this previous exposure may prep the immune system to provide some form of protection against severe disease.
A realistic age-structure mathematical model was developed by the researchers as a means of projecting Covid’s future over the short, medium, and long term.
A modification of a range of variables is allowed and considered by the model. This includes demography, the duration of immunity that either block infection or reduces its severity, and the amount of social interaction.
The lead author of the study said that for multiple respiratory diseases that are infectious, the prevalence in the population increases during a virgin epidemic, but diminishes in a wave pattern, as the spread of the infection unravels over time toward an endemic equilibrium. An endemic future for Covid has been suggested by experts for quite some time.
Patrick Vallance, the United Kingdom’s chief scientific advisor said that when a person speaks to epidemiologists and public health workers, they would be of the opinion that the disease would become endemic in the long term.
The model was designed by researchers to project the outcomes in 11 countries according to their differing demographics.
China, Japan, Spain, South Korea, France, The UK, Germany, Brazil, Italy, United States, and South Africa were a part of the model. The eventual progress of the virus is different for each country.
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