Will the coronavirus ever go away?
By Christina Larson
The Associated Press
AP Illustration/Peter Hamlin
April 2, 2021
WASHINGTON (AP) ó Will the coronavirus ever go away?
No one knows for sure. Scientists think the virus that causes
COVID-19 may be with us for decades or longer, but that doesnít
mean it will keep posing the same threat.
The virus emerged in late 2019 and itís difficult to predict
how it will behave over the long term. But many experts believe
itís likely the disease will eventually ease from a crisis to a
nuisance like the common cold.
That would happen as people build up immunity over time,
either through infection or vaccination. Other viruses have
followed a similar path.
The 1918 flu pandemic could also offer clues about the course
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates
that a third of the worldís population became infected with that
virus, which originated in birds. Eventually, after infected
people either died or developed immunity, the virus stopped
spreading quickly. It later mutated into a less virulent form,
which experts say continues to circulate seasonally.
However, the emergence of new COVID-19 variants could
complicate the picture if future virus mutations cause more
severe disease or evade vaccines.
Itís unlikely the virus will ever be completely stamped out,
given the possibility that people might be able to get
reinfected after theyíve already been sick or vaccinated.
The only virus thatís ever been eradicated from the human
population is smallpox. Thatís because people develop lasting
immunity to that virus after getting sick or vaccinated.