The World Health Organization warned Wednesday (local time) that the novel coronavirus called COVID-19 could be entrenched as “endemic” that periodically springs up in certain areas without being completely eradicated.
"This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities. And this virus may never go away,” said Dr. Michael Ryan, the executive director of Emergencies Program at the WHO. Dr. Ryan also warned against trying to predict when the virus would disappear, saying he doesn’t believe "anyone can predict when this disease will disappear.”
As to the governments trying to alleviate lockdown for economic normalization, the WHO official expressed concerned that such move could trigger a vicious circle between the calamity of public health and financial hardship. He claimed that resuming economic activities when the virus is circulating will only accelerate the pace of transmission, saying the equation is false if the economy and public health is mutually exclusive.
In an interview with The Financial Times on Wednesday, WHO’s chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the world could be looking at controlling this in a four to five-year timeframe. While vaccine “seems for now the best way out,” she added that its efficacy and safety are questionable, and there is also the possibility of the virus mutating in the process of vaccine development.