Published: 26th August 2021
What the FAQ: When is the Coronavirus pandemic finally ending? All you need to know
The WHO says that the pandemic may be in its endemic stage in India now. But when will we get back to normal lives? We explain it here
Each one of you has asked somebody at least once in the past year this question — When exactly is COVID ending? We do not know the answer yet, but recently WHO Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan said that COVID could be entering the endemic stage in India. What exactly did she mean? We explain it here
What did Dr Swaminathan say?
In an interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, she said, "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."
What does endemicity mean?
In an endemic stage, a population learns to live with a virus. At this stage, the infection is constantly maintained at a baseline level in a geographic area without external inputs. For clarity, chickenpox is in an endemic stage in the UK and AIDS is in an endemic stage in a few countries of Africa.
So when exactly will things get back to normal?
There is no clear answer to this. However, Dr Swaminathan said that by the end of 2022 we would probably be at a position where we have achieved considerable vaccine coverage — say 70 per cent. Then countries can get back to normal. Until now, only around 13 per cent of the eligible population have been fully vaccinated.