“When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?” This has been the question lingering in everyone’s minds ever since the whole world has been in a lockdown. In the first year of the pandemic, everyone is terrified because no one exactly knows what will happen in the following years. Nowadays, restrictions are much lighter.
Medical experts and frontliners are the ones that should be thanked for why the pandemic has not been worse as the years went by. Vaccinations are also a huge help in improving the human body’s immunity against the deadly virus. This year, there had been talks about the possibility of the pandemic coming to an end.
Everyone is tired of wearing masks and having the possibility of catching COVID every time they go outside. Hearing that the pandemic might end is more than a relief for most people, especially to those who are drastically affected by it.
Last January, there was an article on this website about how the Omicron variant will end the pandemic. According to the article, people who are fully vaccinated will get a better immune response against future COVID variants. Unlike other variants, Omicron is a less severe variant because it is less likely to infect the respiratory system.
People who got this variant to get an extra layer of protection since they already have the vaccine and Omicron is less likely to cause death. Recently, there have been Omicron B.A.1 and B.A.2 subvariants but studies show that these variants are more contagious, but are less severe.
This is good news because it means that the claims of medical experts in our January article are becoming more of a reality each day. We are not saying that the pandemic will end. These are the experts’ claim and is a sign of better times ahead. Here are other signs that might mean the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Signs of COVID-19’s End
More Vaccinations and Fewer Infections
As of this article’s writing, 4.63 billion have been fully vaccinated and 1.74 billion people received their booster shots. On the other hand, COVID-19 cases have decreased during the first quarter of the year. From around three million cases (weekly average) in mid-January, the numbers dropped to around 700,000 cases in mid-April.
Currently, around 59% of the worldwide population is vaccinated. On the other hand, there has been a 76% decrease in the weekly average of COVID-19 cases. It’s not safe to say that the pandemic is ending but it is a good sign. As long as vaccinations are happening faster than the deadlier mutation of COVID, we are on the right track.
Who knows, we might achieve herd immunity this year if the world manages to have a 10% increase in worldwide vaccinations.
There are COVID-19 Medications
Vaccinating the worldwide population is the most important measure in ending the pandemic. However, the development of COVID-19 pills is a huge step. Two COVID pills are going through a series of clinical trials, Pfizer’s Paxlovid and Merck’s Molnupiravir.
Paxlovid works by poisoning the protease enzyme of the virus so it would not be able to replicate. Once the replication is restricted, the worsening of the disease is prevented. According to Pfizer’s clinical trial data, Paxlovid reduces hospitalization risks by 89%.
On the other hand, Molnupiravir mimics the RNA of the virus. Merck’s pill replicates the mistakes of the virus’ genetic code to mutate itself to extinction. According to Merck’s clinical trials, Molnupavir reduces the hospitalization or death rate by 50%.
Once COVID medications are developed and sold in the market, it can lead to the end of the pandemic. This means that COVID-19 will be easier to treat and this virus will be just like any other disease.
A Less Severe Variant
With the discovery of the Omicron B.A.2 subvariant, you can say that this is a weaker and less severe variant than previous ones. This does not mean that the public should no longer be precautious when it comes to COVID measures. However, this means that deaths will be lesser as long as vaccines are administered.
And because of the lesser severe variants, some public places are now serving people at full capacity and schools are now undergoing face-to-face classes worldwide. This is a good sign because it means that the world is slowly going back to normal.
It is too early to tell if the pandemic will end sooner, but it is also too cynical to think that the pandemic won’t end as data suggests for its possibility.
If not now, when will the Pandemic end?
There is no formal mechanism for declaring the end of the pandemic. Ending a pandemic means that COVID-19 will cease to exist in the world. Some experts say that this is less likely to happen. However, the virus can be less and less threatening through medical and government efforts.
Endemicity is the goal that everyone hopes to achieve. This means that the virus will be around specific areas but not worldwide. The perfect example of endemic disease is polio. Polio various still exists in the world. However, the constant vaccination for polio prevents the virus from spreading.
Signs that COVID-19 has become Endemic
The first sign of the endemic disease is the significant lowering of case numbers and hospitalization rates. And if the death rate of the virus is fewer than a hundred for a significant amount of time, the disease can be declared endemic. In the Philippines, COVID cases have been decreasing since mid-January. On April 20, five cities in Metro Manila had no additional COVID-19 cases.
Vaccinations and Booster shots
As data suggests, vaccinations and booster shots help as the number one solution in eradicating COVID-19. If you haven’t had your vaccine yet, go to your local government for your vaccination. Yes, COVID cases are getting lower each day, but this does not mean that we should be maskless in public.
There is a possibility that the pandemic might end next year. However, all the efforts of medical professionals are nothing if the public refuses to get vaccinated, wear masks, and practice social distancing.