The COVID pandemic has lasted nearly three years, but the numbers of people who have fallen victim to the virus remain high. As of January 1, 2023, an estimated 656 million confirmed cases have been reported worldwide. While these numbers will likely continue to grow in the coming years, the overall health impact of the COVID pandemic is starting to become more apparent.
In October, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made some intriguing statements regarding the future of the pandemic. He outlined key elements of the global health organisation’s efforts, including a possible global pandemic treaty.
One of the most significant concerns regarding the disease is the fact that the underlying cause of the illness is still unknown. Specifically, there are various emerging variations of the virus, many of which are closely related to the infamous Omicron variant that caused a massive spike in the case numbers. However, these variations are not expected to significantly change the way that the disease is transmitted and subsequently affects the human population. Therefore, there is a high likelihood that the endemic COVID pandemic will continue to spread around the globe.
According to a report by Airfinity, the London-based research firm, the number of infections will continue to rise. During the last week of December, more than three million new cases were reported worldwide. Meanwhile, more than ten thousand deaths were recorded in the same period. These figures are a stark reminder of the scale of the epidemic.
While the majority of American adults have already contracted the disease, the number of new cases is still increasing, with a weekly average of nearly 487,387. Most of these new cases were attributed to the Delta and Omicron variants of the virus. Both variants are spreading at a rapid rate and causing fatalities in addition to more minor illnesses.
There are several reasons why the virus continues to spread. Aside from the fact that the virus itself is still a very infectious disease, there are also issues with vaccines and antiviral medications. Unfortunately, most people still do not have the necessary immunities. This creates a serious challenge to those who wish to prevent the spread of the disease. Fortunately, there are solutions available.
Among these are antiviral medications and booster vaccines. Despite the widespread distribution of these vaccinations, the US Department of Health and Human Services reports that only 69% of the population has received a primary vaccination scheme. Because of this, there are gaps in the nation’s health care system. When these gaps are exposed, the risk of a large-scale outbreak increases.
Regardless of how the disease continues to spread, it is important to keep an eye on the situation. It is critical that countries take action to combat the disease and ensure that the public understands the disease’s impacts. For example, the CDC has recently announced that it will be able to see a decline in the number of RSV infections earlier than usual.