It is the big question. And a lot of experts do agree on this.
It isn’t. I mean, it is not going to end. That is the major possibility. It is going to be here, year after year, rearing its head on occasion, just like the common flu. A small percentage of people do get re-infected, and so do some, even after getting vaccinated. The virus seems to mutate at just the right rate for it remain here- for good.
But the good news is, in course of time, it will probably become a much milder illness. Like the flu, or like the common cold.
Consider the Corona virus OC43. It is a Coronavirus, closely related to the SARS-2, that causes Covid-19. It now causes a very mild illness, a cold. It is one of the hundred or so viruses that cause the common cold.
There is enough evidence to think that this virus was a new human pathogen when it jumped from cattle to us. And it might have caused a major Pandemic in 1890. It was thought to be flu pandemic, but evidence points otherwise. It killed about over 20 lakh people in two years, and then started becoming a benign thing.
Why does a virus become so? Well, it could be evolution. A more infectious, but less lethal variant is what is favoured over time. Plus, a substantial proportion of people become immune to it, limiting its yearly spread, even with mutating variants.
The Present Pandemic?
The present situation is likely to continue till about seventy percent of people on earth are either infected, or vaccinated. We should aim at vaccination, the much safer alternative. That means, the Pandemic will continue, with a total of two or three waves, till 2022. It might gradually peter out after that, with still smaller waves continuing, as it becomes endemic.
Vaccination is the most important intervention that we can do, to halt its progress. Masking, Distancing, and avoiding crowds, slows the spread.
The Present Wave?
The present wave in Europe and India are driven primarily by new, more infectious variants. In India, we have the B1.617 variant, already identified in 10 states.
In India, we had completely let our guard down, with low rates of masking, and with religious, election rallies etc running amok as usual. That contributed a lot. We could vaccinate only about 1 percent of our population, which is pathetically inadequate.
It is likely that the present wave might peak in one or two weeks and then may abate.
It is true that many do become infected after Vaccination. But there is at least 70 percent protection, though we don’t know the actual rate with many new mutants. There is 90 to 95 percent protection against severe disease. The present wave died out suddenly in countries like Israel and UK, that managed to vaccinate more than 50 percent of people very quickly.
We should continue masks, distancing, and avoid crowds. For one more year. But it is a long haul, and we should continue most economic activities with due diligence, because this isn’t going to end suddenly.