From The Medical Republic, 18 February 2022:
“It’s no worse than the flu” has been the rallying cry of covid-deniers, anti-vaccination campaigners, and anyone with a financial or political interest in downplaying the devastating impact that SARS-CoV-2 has had on humanity.
While they have been proven spectacularly wrong on so many fronts, there is one way in which covid might bear a passing resemblance to that other much-loathed spiky viral invader.
When it comes to the question of what happens next with this pandemic, many experts liken our future experience of covid to our present (or pre-covid) experience of influenza: an epidemic that emerges seasonally, wreaks havoc, disappears to mutate quietly in a flock of pigs, poultry or humans, then has another crack next year.
Predictions that covid will eventually become endemic are almost as old as the pandemic itself – originally as a reluctant admission the virus would not be stamped out, more recently as heralding relief from the perpetual state of emergency as outbreaks threaten to engulf our health systems.
But assertions that covid is going to become just another endemic disease that we have to live with reflect confusion over what the terms “epidemic” and “endemic” actually mean, says epidemiologist Professor Margaret Hellard, deputy director of the Burnet Institute, who specialises in the epidemiology of infectious disease. Read more.