In the journal Science Advances, the results of an international study appeared, the authors of which predicted the future of COVID-19, medicalXpress reports. In the process, scientists combined information on demographics, degree of social confusion and duration of immunity from disease in 11 different countries: China, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, USA, Brazil and South Africa.
It turned out that the most likely scenario of the future is that the disease will become endemic, that is, it will remain forever and will manifest itself from time to time in the form of outbreaks, while, like other coronaviruses of the common cold, it will mainly affect young children who have not yet been vaccinated or immunized which proved to be too weak to fight the virus. In general, covid will become less fatal as children tolerate it more easily.
“Our simulations show that the risk of infection is likely to shift to younger children as the adult community gradually becomes immune to the virus — either through vaccinations or because of illness,” the researchers said. Similar shifts have occurred with other coronaviruses and influenza viruses as they became endemic. Genetic studies show that a similar story was with the 1889-1890 pandemic - the so-called "Asian flu", or "Russian flu", which claimed the lives of a million people, mostly over 70 years old. That pandemic was caused by the emergence of the human coronavirus OC43 - it has not disappeared to this day, but has turned into an endemic mild cold virus, affecting mainly children 7-12 months old. A similar trajectory is likely for the coronavirus.
Such a scenario will take place if long-term immunity can be achieved in the adult population. But if the immune system weakens quickly, then the elderly will still suffer greatly from covid - although not as much as at the beginning of the pandemic, since the immune memory from previous infections will still persist. In any case, the author of the study writes, vaccinations are necessary, because, as the study of COVID-19 shows, vaccination provides stronger protection than exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Demography also influences the forecast: in countries with high life expectancy, mortality will be higher than in "younger" countries. However, regardless of demographic indicators, in any case, over time, the covid will shift towards the young.