A few months back nobody was cognizant of what is SARS-CoV-19. And now here we stand, without a shadow of a doubt, how a tiny virus, can stop and shake the entire world to its roots. Coronavirus, today is on everyone’s mind with one question, when will this all end?
Today, the virus has infected more than 6.5 million people globally; with thousands adding to the list every hour. Death tolls exceed 0.3 million worldwide. For how long the world will have to go through these losses?
Or is this virus gonna be here for longer than we think?
Will the coronavirus ever leave?
Belgian Virologist, Guido Vanham, the former head of virology at the institution of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium says; the virus might never be completely gone. Unless we succeed in making a stalwart vaccine and every single person haves it in their veins. As once done with smallpox.
Otherwise, there stands a probability that coronavirus may reappear in some particular seasons like winter, autumn & spring. But still one has to look at the impacts it will hold in that condition. WHO says that the virus may be endemic.
How does a pandemic end?
According to experts, there are two ways in which a pandemic ends.
- Medical End: This is the end of the pandemic with proper medical support or vaccine When the death tolls because of the bacteria or virus decline, because of vaccines or medical attention; then the pandemic is said to have a medical end.
- Social End: As in the case of coronavirus which transmits sprightly; people are scared of this virus. When the fear of pandemic-causing bacteria or virus vanishes; then the virus socially ends.
“As we have seen in the debate about opening the economy, many questions about the so-called end are determined not by medical and public health data but by sociopolitical processes,” says Allan Brandt, a Harward historian.
What makes an epidemic more severe?
The coronavirus-ignited pandemic has never been witnessed in history. But in the past people have fought more deadly diseases. What makes an epidemic more severe is the fear of being infected, the fear of dying.
Dr Susan Murray, of the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin; shared her experience of the ebola epidemic. The highly infectious virus is sometimes fatal, which created fear inside Africans. She shares in her article in The New England Journal of Medicine, her experience in Dublin Hospital amid the Ebola epidemic.
A young man from a country arrived at the hospital she was working. Nurses and doctors were running away from him, in the fear of being infected. Dr. Murray treated him, She found the man had cancer, at an incurable stage. The man tested negative for ebola and in the next hour, the man died. Three days later the incident WHO declared the Ebola pandemic over.
Dr. Murray wrote, “If we are not prepared to fight fear and ignorance as actively and as thoughtfully as we fight any other virus, it is possible that fear can do terrible harm to vulnerable people, even in places that never see a single case of infection during an outbreak. And a fear epidemic can have far worse consequences when complicated by issues of race, privilege, and language.”
Histories of deadly pandemics
The pandemic has been there in the world from time immemorial. The world has dealt with more deadly viruses and bacteria before after costing millions of lives.
- HIV/AIDS pandemic which was at its peak from 2005-to 2012 crosses death tolls of 36 million people worldwide to date.
- The Flu pandemic in 1968 which was caused by Influenza (H3N2) cost the world about 1 million people. This virus is also famous as ‘the Hong Kong Flu’.
- Asian FLu which was at its peak for 2 years; 1956-1958. This pandemic was the result of influenza H2N2; which originated in China. The WHO puts a tally of about 2 million life losses by this flu globally.
- Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860), The Black Death (1346-1353), and a number of other pandemics have struck the world from time to time.
What conclusion we can draw from them is important. Every pandemic has to end, but at what cost?
When will the coronavirus end?
Looking at the trend of the pandemics historian and analysts predict; that the novel coronavirus holds a strong possibility of ending socially before medically.
People will soon be tired of bounding themselves into houses; because that can not be done for a long time. It would be great if medical researchers come up with vaccines quickly, but if it will take time, the world can’t stop and wait for that.
“I think there is this sort of social-psychological issue of exhaustion and frustration,” says Naomi Rogers, Yale historian. “We may be in a moment when people are just saying, ‘That’s enough. I deserve to be able to return to my regular life.’”
The bigger problem which was seen during the Ebola pandemic was countries withdrawing funds. Since different countries are being infected at different times; When a few countries are at an ease with the virus; while other are still in the middle of the transmission. Will global solidarity persist even after a few countries succeed in containing the virus?
The coronavirus’s end is near
This virus has challenged the world’s health care system at every step. This pandemic has revealed one universal truth that we as humans always run from; no matter how powerful we claim to be, in the depth of nature, there is always something that makes us question our strength. But at the same time challenges our capability and grants us a chance of proving ourselves yet again, like every time.
The answer to when the pandemic is over; depends upon how you define an end. We cannot fear the virus forever. In a few months, we will ourselves be tired of being panicked and would learn to live with it.
Even though a few countries claim, there seems a very tiny hope of a vaccine for the virus in the near future. You might be living in a world without lockdowns very soon but it would not be without coronavirus.