How would you feel if this never ended? Despite all of the masks, tests, and vaccinations, there is no guarantee that COVID-19 will ever disappear. But stick with me on this.
Even if the virus doesn’t go away, it might not be as bad as it seems. How could COVID-19 never go away? What would life be like if it didn’t disappear? And how could the virus weaken to another common cold?
Unfortunately, there are a couple of ways that COVID-19 could be here to stay. Vaccines may not be completely effective. Animals could infect us again. Or the virus could continue to mutate. So, how might vaccines not do the trick?
People don’t always take well to restrictive measures. Like wearing masks and social distancing, vaccines are only effective if people are willing to participate. If most people are vaccinated, the virus will have a hard time finding someone who is susceptible. Eventually, the spread will slow and die out. This is called “herd immunity.”
But say a large number of people refuse to get vaccinated or socially distance. The virus would continue to spread.
In the future, vaccines could help stop the spread in most areas. But there may be communities that don’t get or take the vaccines. As a result, localized outbreaks could occur.
Another way COVID-19 could continue to spread is the way it originated, through animals. It isn’t just bats and pangolins either. Tigers at the Bronx Zoo and minks at a Dutch farm have had COVID-19.
Without more animal-friendly practices, the virus could live on and reinfect us, even if it was eradicated in humans. And then there’s the third way COVID-19 could stick around, mutation. Hey, there’s a lot to dive into about COVID-19 mutating. Could it make the virus deadlier? Will it render our original vaccines useless? Check out our other video on What If the Coronavirus Mutated?
COVID-19 might not go away, but that’s not to say it won’t be manageable. There are already four other coronaviruses that regularly circulate among humans. You’ve probably contracted one before, because they give you the common cold.
These coronaviruses have been around for decades. They cause mild illnesses in children and severe disease in the elderly. But now, they’ve been around long enough for people to for people to build up immunity slowly build up immunity.
One of the reasons COVID-19 is so deadly is because it’s new. Our bodies have never been exposed to this virus before. Eventually, years into the future, our immune systems could adapt to protect us. And all you’d experience is a few sniffles.
It’s important to look past the doom and gloom of what life with COVID has brought. At home, people have had more time to find new passions and spend time with their families. Companies are rethinking their structure, including more options to work remotely.
With fewer people commuting to work, the environment has improved. Global carbon emissions in 2020 were eight percent lower because of COVID-19 restrictions. There isn’t one solution that will make COVID-19 disappear. But slowly, social distancing measures might lighten up, and people will be open to shaking hands and hugging. In the future, this could just be another virus that gives us the cold.
- “Scientists See Signs Of Lasting Immunity To Covid-19, Even After Mild Infections”. 2020. nytimes.com.
- “WHO: Letting virus spread through herd immunity is “scientifically and ethically problematic””. Diana, Duong. healthing.ca.
- “Why Covid-19 Might Never Go Away”. Robert, Roy Britt. 2020. Medium.
- “Why Don’t We Have Vaccines Against Everything? (Published 2018)”. 2018. nytimes.com.
- “Coronaviruses: Important Emerging Human Pathogens”. Coleman, C. M., and M. B. Frieman. 2014. Journal Of Virology 88 (10): 5209-5212. doi:10.1128/jvi.03488-13.
- “When a COVID-19 vaccine is ready, some Canadians likely won’t want to get it”. Flanagan, Ryan. 2020. Coronavirus.
- “Canadians’ willingness to get a COVID-19 vaccine when one becomes available: What role does trust play?”. 2020. www150.statcan.gc.ca.