A new report released Thursday by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota predicts that the coronavirus pandemic could last for as long as two years and that it might require two-thirds of the global population to be immune to the deadly virus to contain its spread.
“We must be prepared for at least another 18 to 24 months of significant COVID-19 activity, with hot spots popping up periodically in diverse geographic areas. As the pandemic wanes, it is likely that SARS-CoV-2 [the virus that causes COVID-19] will continue to circulate in the human population and will synchronize to a seasonal pattern with diminished severity over time,” the report states.
The report outlines three scenarios for the pandemic. In the first scenario, “repetitive smaller waves” of the outbreak will continue through the summer and then “consistently over a 1-to 2-year period, gradually diminishing sometime in 2021.”
In the second scenario, the first COVID-19 wave will be followed by a “larger wave in the fall or winter of 2020 and one or more subsequent waves in 2021. This pattern will require the reinstitution of mitigation measures in the fall in an attempt to drive down spread of infection and prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed.”
The researchers based their analysis on data from eight major pandemics that have occured since the early 1700s.
The researchers also urged states, territories and tribal health authorities to plan for the worst-case scenario – the second one outlined – and to assume that there will be no “vaccine availability or herd community.”
This report comes as more than 30 US states will have eased lockdown restrictions by the end of the next week.
The latest data by Worldometer reveals that there are more than 3 million cases of the coronavirus worldwide. More than 237,000 people have died due to the respiratory illness.