American virologists: the world is at the very beginning of the pandemic
Infectious disease experts warn that the current situation with the spread of COVID-19 is just the early stage of a coronavirus attack on the world. So there's no reason to hope that in the summer it will be possible to return to the usual lifestyle.
The most influential American newspaper, The New York Times, devoted a very curious material to the forecasting of the future course of the pandemic. The publication cited two studies of global scenarios, both based on the notion that the coronavirus pandemic is a “soliton,” that is, a stable solitary wave that propagates in a nonlinear medium. A good example of a soliton wave is a tsunami that travels hundreds of kilometers all alone.
That is why there can be no “peak overload” and normalization of the situation. According to both studies, we have to go through a long period of building relations between society and coronavirus, in which periods of social isolation (and a drop in the number of new infections) will be replaced by new outbreaks - depending on the country, seasonality, politics, discipline of the population and local intensive care resources .
This story will last not a month or even a year: both studies are extremely cautious about a two-year period, the middle or the end of 2022. Only then, through a series of outbreaks, we will approach population immunity in 55% of the population.
Three scenarios presented by researchers at the University of Minnesota suggest:
- Peaks and valleys: approximately equal in strength to the return of the epidemic until 2022;
- Autumn peak of 2020: twice as powerful outbreak of the epidemic this fall and winter and then fading outbreaks;
- Slow burnout: the most favorable, in which the current outbreak will be the largest, and then a series of weaker ones will follow, but still until 2022.
In particular, the director of the University of Minnesota Infectious Disease Research Center, Dr. Michael Osterholm, believes that the initial wave of outbreaks in cities like New York, where every fifth person was infected, represents only the first stage of a pandemic, which will take many more lives. than already carried away:
“This damned virus will act until it infects everyone it can. It will not stop and will not slow down until it infects 60-70% of the population, only this number can create collective immunity and stop the spread of the virus. Even if new cases of the disease begin to disappear this summer, this will mean that the new coronavirus will follow a seasonal pattern similar to the flu ... "
It should be noted that these are scenarios of the “natural” course of the epidemic; they are valid if a vaccine and effective and affordable treatment are not found. However, in any case, the pandemic will go beyond 2020, and it would be naive to wait for anything else.
“In the end, it all comes down not to returning to a“ past life ”, but to the question of what rate of social distance and mortality of vulnerable groups will be acceptable for us, how much we are ready to wear masks and gloves, limit contacts and travel, and forget about mass events for the next couple of years. This is already a matter of national culture and social conventions, and it will be a long and fascinating process of mutual adaptation of a person and a virus...”- political analyst Sergey Medvedev comments on the situation.