For 18 months, people around the world have been dreaming about an eventual end to the Covid-19 pandemic, and for a moment, it felt tantalisingly close.
Then the Delta variant spread and began tearing through the unvaccinated, and now, in the US at least, people are right back in the thick of it. Pockets of the country are crushing previous case records. Entire states have run out of hospital beds. The end of the tunnel, once again, feels very far away.
So when will the world exit crisis mode? Are we destined to live through an endless loop of surges, followed by lulls, followed by even greater surges?
Here’s what experts think life with Covid-19 will be like in the future.
A small group of experts think we still can eradicate COVID-19…
“We should not dismiss the possibility of eradicating Covid-19,” a team of researchers argue in a recent paper, published in BMJ Global Health, that has been generating a lot of headlines for its hopeful message.
The researchers say it is still possible to get global Covid cases to zero and keep them there until intervention measures are no longer needed. Up to this point, the World Health Organisation has only declared one human disease officially eradicated: smallpox.
Based on a scoring system they developed for eradicability, the study’s authors found it would be harder to eradicate Covid-19 than it was to eradicate smallpox, but ultimately easier to eradicate Covid-19 than polio. (It’s worth noting that polio isn’t officially gone: two of the three types have been eradicated, but the third still exists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.)