When does a pandemic turn into an endemic?

Suara.com – The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic in March 2020 due to the large spread of the Covid-19 corona virus around the world,

However, after two years and many Covid-19 prevention ‘tools’, many experts believe SARS-CoV-2 will never be eradicated.

So, at some point the world will move from a ‘pandemic’ to an ‘endemic’ phase. Based on ABC Newsa pandemic is a broad and rapid spread of disease, with cases increasing exponentially over a large area.

Meanwhile, endemic viruses will always be present and their spread can be predicted so that doctors can prepare and adapt. An example of an endemic virus is the seasonal flu.

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Illustration of covid-19, different symptoms of Covid-19 variants of Omicron and Delta.  (Pixabay/Engin_Akyurt)
Illustration of covid-19 (Pixabay/Engin_Akyurt)

We need a situation where we have a background level for the pandemic to reach an endemic phase. This means, there are still people infected, but the number will not explode.

For example, the H1N1 influenza virus has variants that have caused pandemics in the past, such as the Spanish flu in 1918 and the swine flu in 2009.

These influenza variants are now part of the respiratory viruses that we often encounter.

However, professor of medicine Paul Goepfert of the University of Alabama said there was no set time period for when a pandemic would become endemic.

Without knowing whether there might be other variants and predictable disease patterns, it’s too early to tell if a region has reached endemicity.

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Many experts say only time will tell whether a new variant of the coronavirus will emerge and cause major problems.

“Endemic is where you see consistently low numbers, the health care system is able to manage [dan] people can get the care they need,” said assistant professor Natasha Chida of the division of infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University.