COVID-19: When are we going to get rid of it once and for all?

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Alarice Francisco, a 5th year medical student from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


“Navigating the COVID-19 pandemic: We’re just clambering into a life raft. Dry land is far away” – Marc Lipsitch and Yonatan Grad.

The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has posed a real challenge to the health, education, economy and politics of all nations of the world, which collapsed the most developed health systems and showed that no nation was prepared for a health crisis of such magnitude. All efforts in recent years have focused on containing the spread of the virus through social isolation, the use of biosecurity equipment, rigorous cleansing and vaccination.

Despite all the efforts made, it is a reality to recognize that the sun of today still lacks a great path to travel, shorter than that begun in 2019. This global crisis can culminate in years for underdeveloped countries or months for highly developed countries.

To this end, it is essential that nations continue to change their behaviour by adopting rigorous measures of social restraint, which will unfortunately, in the long term, continue to have a significant impact on mental health and the economy.

It is also very necessary that a large part of the population has already developed active immunity naturally through infection by providing Community protection or herd immunity, which could really take years to come and it has been difficult to obtain because of the emergence of new variants with high transmissibility rates.

However, the most important and scientifically supported measure is to halt the spread and reduce its effects through vaccination. In fact, the hesitation to vaccinate has not allowed progress towards the end of this crisis. That is why all countries in the world will do better when more than half of their population has been vaccinated and when new variants no longer emerge.

The real key is to make the pandemic an endemic disease by decreasing the cases of each variant, which is achieved in a year and a half or two of the onset of the first case, probably in December next year for many developed countries to become endemic with limited or seasonal outbreaks. This will allow each country to take the necessary and specific measures to control the variants that host its different territories.

It is important to note that pandemics always end even without viruses disappearing. To do this, a medical end will occur when incidence and mortality rates drop sharply, a social end when people have overcome fear of the disease, an economic end when the blockade measures are lifted and the economy regains its momentum, and a political end when governments claim the pandemic is over.

Reference

Vaishnav, M., Dalal, P. K., & Javed, A. (2020). When will the pandemic end?. Indian journal of psychiatry, 62(Suppl 3), S330–S334. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_1030_20

About the author

Ms. Alarice Francisco is a 5th year medical student from the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA) – Dominican Organization of Medical Students (ODEM). She is passionate about literature, research and teaching.

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