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Covid-19 will soon become another common cold, scientists predict

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Covid-19 will soon become another common cold

One day Covid-19 will be no more deadly than the common cold, a computer model is predicting. Its fatality rate will fall below the 0.1 percent of seasonal flu and the need for a vaccine will diminish as more people are infected.

Although people will still get infected from the SARS-CoV-2 virus responsible for Covid-19, it will be a mild disease like the symptoms of the common cold, another SARS virus, say researchers at Emory University.

The more children that are infected, the better for all of us in the longterm. Natural childhood infection will give people protection in later life against severe disease, although it won’t stop them from getting infected again, just as we can catch the common cold every year or so.

As more of the population gets infected, so the fatality rates—and the need for mass vaccination—will wane “in the near term”, said Ottar Bjornstad, one of the researchers. We just have to weather the current pandemic until those levels of infection are achieved.

“Reinfection is possible within one year, but even if it occurs, symptoms are mild and the virus is cleared from the body more quicky,” said Jennie Lavine, another researcher.

Although the current vaccination roll-out is necessary and effective for the next year or so, it will become less critical when ‘herd immunity’ is achieved, at which point vaccines should be reserved only for the most vulnerable, the researchers say.

(Source: Science, 2021; eabe6522; doi: 10.1126/science.abe6522)

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Article Topics: Influenza
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