How will the COVID-19 pandemic end?

How will the COVID-19 pandemic end?

T. Dongara, News Editor

It’s been 2 years since regions all around the world went into lockdown due to the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Since then, hundreds of millions have been infected and millions have died. However, improvements have been seen in the past month, with a decrease in infections, deaths, and hospitalizations. 65% of Americans are fully vaccinated and 29% are both vaccinated and boosted. The US daily average of cases has also dropped 40% in the past week. As a result, mask mandates have been lifted in several districts, and the crisis has started to settle down. President Joe Biden said himself that “It’s time to return to pre-pandemic life.” But how will this pandemic officially end? Scientists have been looking at past trends to figure it out. 


The flu pandemic, which spread in the late 1910s, killed 50 million people. Since then, several other flu pandemics emerged with the new variants, especially in the late 20th century and the early 21st century. A common trend among these pandemics is that as time passed, the disease wore down and the general population slowly built immunity. Experts say that the patterns with the flu pandemic will most likely resemble the patterns of the coronavirus. 


At the start of 2022, many people were concerned about the rise in Omicron cases. Lockdown was expected to occur again, but public places ended up staying open, and cases fell. This is also a prime example of the correlation between patterns with the flu virus and the coronavirus. There has always been a time of year when the number of flu cases was high and a time of year when it was low, so there’s no need to be concerned when COVID-19 cases are occasionally higher at certain times of the year.


HIV was also a tragic pandemic that killed millions and became the leading cause of death in 1994 for Americans ages 25-44. However, new treatments came out that made it a manageable disease for Americans. It slowly settled within the population and no longer was extremely life-threatening for everyone. However, like many other trends among pandemics, the disease didn’t end. It instead turned into several epidemics throughout the world. Africa, for example, still considered it an emergency. This is also a trend that experts expect to see with the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. As populations continue to get vaccinated and public places start opening up in countries like America, some countries still expect to see a surge in cases. 


As we (hopefully) approach the end of a 2-year global pandemic, it is important to look at these past patterns. Like previous diseases, the virus will never go away but will settle down as the population gains immunity. Let’s just hope it will no longer interrupt our everyday lives.