One of Australia’s leading epidemiologists says Canberra could return to “normalcy” in just a few months.
According to Adrian Esterman, Professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of South Australia, with more than 90 percent of the adult population fully vaccinated, further curfews are unlikely.
“It will be a completely different scenario because for most people infected with COVID-19 it won’t be much different from being infected with influenza,” said the former epidemiologist from the World Health Organization. Said.
He believes that with serious illness and death rapidly declining, a version of the old normalcy must – and will – return quickly.
It will be a completely different scenario because for most people, being infected with COVID-19 will not be much different from being infected with influenza.
Professor Adrian Esterman
The ACT is expected to reach 90 percent of fully vaccinated adults by the end of this month, and 95 percent shortly thereafter. Professor Esterman predicts this will allow for what he calls “COVID normality” – the freedom to travel and lead our lives.
Cases may continue, but serious illness from these cases will decline. This is because mostly younger unvaccinated people are less likely to be infected and have serious illnesses.
“While even fully vaccinated people are still 20 percent likely to be infected, their chances of getting sick enough to go to the hospital are very small, and they have almost no chance of dying from COVID-19. Unless, of course, there are other underlying health conditions. So, 90 to 95 percent of adults are “Once I get vaccinated, hospitals should be able to deal with it without too much trouble,” he said.
It has some caveats. “We will need to get younger children vaccinated,” he said, referring to children aged six months to 11 years.
But he thinks it will happen. There are already clinical trials in the United States, and he says Australian officials often follow up with authorities elsewhere – eventually.
He thinks it is necessary to vaccinate children not because they get sick, but because they are contagious. “Children that age rarely get seriously ill, but they can pass the infection on to their families,” he said.
Another potential fly in the ointment is “long COVID,” in which infected people have health problems lasting three months or longer. This can occur in more than half of patients who are sick enough to go to hospital, and can occur even in non-hospitalized patients.
The new “COVID normal” will be different from the old normal.
Ventilation will be much more important in places such as offices, schools, hotels. Engineers and architects will have to pay much more attention to how air circulates in the buildings they design and build.
Face masks may remain in closed areas such as public transport.
Over the 18 months of the epidemic, knowledge has grown immensely so that vaccines can now be easily adapted to deal with variants of the virus.
Just as with the flu, the COVID-19 vaccine will almost certainly be needed every year. “Every year there’s a huge genetic shift going on with the flu, to which we have little or no immunity. The same thing can happen with COVID-19,” he said.
But new types of vaccines like mRNA mean that the new variants will be a battle to lose at their hands.
But Professor Esterman warns that he thinks there will be some kind of pandemic again in ten years, and he fears that terrorist groups could cause it by developing the virus.
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