- What Is Herd Immunity?
- What If Coronavirus Becomes a Seasonal Epidemic Disease?
- Will The Coronavirus Become a Seasonal Virus, Such As The Flu Virus or The Common Cold?
Perhaps everyone is wondering what is the future of this epidemic? Will it become a seasonal infection like the flu?
As there is some optimism about getting rid of this epidemic due to the availability of the vaccine, and the change of seasons, as there is hope that infections will decrease in the summer almost. There are expectations that by the spring and summer of this year, the number of deaths will decrease, and the recovery rate will increase. But there is something that reduces this optimism and puts an obstacle in the way, which is the low probability of achieving herd immunity, and this is due to several reasons, including the following:
- Not all individuals are eligible for the vaccine.
- Some of the eligible persons refused to take the vaccine.
- Vaccines lose the ability to provide complete immunity against infection.
- Currently available vaccines are less effective against the new strain.
What Is Herd Immunity?
Herd immunity can be defined as a theoretical construct that was developed to suit infectious diseases, and this model assumes that the society in which each individual faces the pandemic, the transmission of infection will continue among the members of this community until everyone gets immunity against this disease, either by infection or by vaccination or both.
But looking at the Coronavirus, there are simple differences, as follows:
• Because the Coronavirus can be considered seasonal, the level of herd immunity will be low in summer, and high in winter.
• Herd immunity depends on the extent to which individuals interact with each other, and varies by city after lifting restrictions and mandates for social distancing.
• Non-random mixing may lead to modifications in the level of immunity required to stop transmission.
What If Coronavirus Becomes Seasonal Epidemic Disease?
In the event of the continued emergence of new strains, the winter wave could become the norm, or the most difficult period, which requires advance planning and consideration of a set of strategies to mitigate the consequences on societies and health systems, and thus five strategies should be considered and discussed strongly in the coming months, including the following strategies:
- Intensifying global vaccination efforts.
- Monitoring the pandemic and the emergence of new strains and accelerating the amendment of vaccines to enhance their effectiveness for these emerging strains in the event that they are proven to significantly reduce the protection of the vaccine.
- Management and financing of hospitals in the winter season.
- Reducing the transmission of infection in the peak months through the efforts of the employers and the educational institutions, by taking preventive measures such as social distancing, requesting masks for employees during the peak transmission months, and transferring meetings or classes that attend more than a certain number to digital platforms.
- Modifying the behavior of at-risk individuals, such as stressing the wearing of a mask, avoiding gatherings, eating in closed places, concerts, sporting events, and any place where the risk of transmission is high.
Will The Coronavirus Become a Seasonal Virus, Such As The Flu Virus or The Common Cold?
Some scientists expect that the Coronavirus will become like any seasonal virus with time, to disappear in the summer and reappear in the winter, such as influenza and cold viruses.
Some scientists conducted a study published in “Frontiers in Public Health” about the possibility of the Coronavirus turning into a seasonal virus over time, such as viruses that infect the respiratory system in the winter, especially in temperate climates, as it raises the body’s autoimmunity either by taking vaccines or from During a natural infection with the virus.
One of the study specialists indicated that the Coronavirus will continue to exist until a community immunity occurs, so everyone must start dealing with it and coexist with it by maintaining wearing masks and gloves, avoiding gatherings and maintaining the physical distance between people.
The researchers emphasized that the spread of viruses in general varies during the year and the seasons, as the ability of viruses to remain on surfaces or even the susceptibility of bodies to viruses and even the behavior of objects towards this infection varies.
The researchers explained that the Coronavirus is currently not affected by these seasonal factors and do not prevent it from appearing in the summer, but when community immunity or the so-called “herd immunity” occurs (through natural infection with the virus or taking a vaccine to prevent it), this virus will become like Any other seasonal virus.
The researchers confirmed that this virus is still a new and unknown virus, and it is not known yet whether this study and its expectations are correct or not, but according to the facts and what is happening now, the Coronavirus will become a seasonal virus like any other virus.
It is not clear whether the Coronavirus pandemic will become a chronic epidemic or seasonal infection, and there are possibilities for the emergence of many new strains, and the possibility of a decrease in the effectiveness of the vaccine for each strain, but most likely, the continuous spread of the Coronavirus and seasonal changes is real.
There is a lot to learn in the coming months about variables, vaccines, immunity, and the frequent seasonal coronavirus that may require changes in the health system and a profound cultural adjustment to the lives of individuals at high risk in the winter months.