In an interview with The Wire, World Health Organization (WHO) Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan claimed that the coronavirus in India may have reached the “endemic stage.”
That implies the disease’s severity and scope may lessen over time, but it may never go away.
‘We may be entering the stage of endemicity’
“We may be entering some kind of stage of endemicity where there is low-level transmission or moderate level transmission going on but we are not seeing the kinds of exponential growth and peaks that we saw a few months ago,” Dr. Swaminathan said.
What exactly is an endemic?
When a disease is in the endemic stage, it remains eternally present but limited to a specific population or territory, causing repeated outbreaks.
According to scientists, the disease’s spread is still foreseeable.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, endemic means “constant presence…of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a geographic area.”
What distinguishes it from a pandemic?
A pandemic is a disease that affects a significant number of individuals in several countries or continents at the same time. The WHO classified COVID-19 as a pandemic in March of last year, when it began to spread across continents.
As previously stated, an endemic is exclusive to a specific population or territory.
According to epidemiologist David Heymann, becoming endemic is the “natural progression of many infections we have in humans.”
What are examples of endemic diseases?
The seasonal flu in the United States is an example of an endemic virus. Other examples include chickenpox, which is common in many nations, and malaria, which is common throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
Is COVID-19 becoming an endemic?
According to experts, the next endemic might be a coronavirus pandemic.
That is forecasted on the idea that newer strains of the virus will emerge.
“We are transitioning from this being a pandemic to being more of an endemic virus, at least here in the United States and other Western markets,” Pfizer board member Scott Gottlieb recently said on a CNBC program.
What can one do?
Whether COVID-19 becomes endemic or not, there are a few safeguards you can and should keep on taking. Getting vaccinated, wearing face masks, practising good hand hygiene, and maintaining social distance in public places. According to experts, these can help limit the spread of the disease.