As the novel coronavirus continues to mutate, with several emerging variants, the World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday, 7 September said that the respiratory ailment "is likely here to stay with us." As the spike in COVID cases driven by hyper transmissible delta variant continues to spread unabated across the world with the majority unvaccinated population, the WHO stressed it hopes that COVID-19 must subside as it won’t disappear but eventually fade with time like flu and other illnesses.
“I think this virus is here to stay with us and it will evolve like influenza pandemic viruses, it will evolve to become one of the other viruses that affect us,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization’s Health Emergencies Program, said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
His remarks come after the global health agency warned that the vaccines do not guarantee that the world would eradicate COVID-19, as several instances of the breakthrough infections among the inoculated have also been observed. “This [COVID-19] can become a livable pathogen where it’s there, it circulates, you’re going to hear on the evening news about outbreaks in a dorm or a movie theater, but people go about their normal lives,” a former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb had also similarly predicted in April 2020 interview with a US broadcaster.
US' top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and Stephane Bancel, CEO of the Moderna had also warned that it would be futile to believe that the COVID-19 would just suddenly disappear, but the world, in fact, will have to live with it forever, much like influenza. “People have said we’re going to eliminate or eradicate the virus, no we’re not, very, very unlikely," Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization said at the presser. Meanwhile, Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 said, “We had a chance at the beginning of this pandemic, this pandemic did not need to be this bad.”
Another health expert, chief innovation officer at Boston Children's Hospital Dr. John Brownstein had cautioned during the beginning of the pandemic that people will have to adjust to the 'new normal' and learn to live with the novel coronavirus, which, he said in a televised interview, is going to be here to stay forever. "Eradication of this new coronavirus is basically impossible," he had reiterated. Health experts say that COVID-19 could become a seasonal illness, like the flu and children may be exposed at the time of birth and develop immunity towards it for years and decades to come.