• Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024

Covid-19: Will we ever see the end?

ByMia Taylor

Nov 9, 2023
A hand holding a rapid Covid-19 test with a negative result.

Last week, one of my work colleagues tested positive for Covid-19. With all honesty, until I heard this news, I hadn’t thought of Covid in almost months. If two years ago someone would have told me that I could live day to day life without being affected by the pandemic, I would have laughed in their face with disbelief. But it seems we have reached this almost fantastical reality. It begs the question: will we ever see the end of Covid-19? And what does one mean by the end of a pandemic?

Despite Covid-19 being a distant memory for most of us, cases are still very much high in the UK. With the words “lock-down” and “quarantine” sounding like echoes from a past reality, there were still 57,852 cases in the UK in the past seven days. This statistic seems to be extremely worrisome as there are no current restrictions in the UK. Instead, British citizens are encouraged to live alongside the virus and to treat it like any other sickness.

This is also mirrored by the World Health Organisation, that in May 2023 released a statement deeming that Covid-19 was no longer a “global health emergency.” Yet, I find it significant to point out that even though COVID is no longer a global health emergency, it is still recognised by the WHO as a “global health risk,” which is the alert level that is below an emergency alert. This levelling down from an “emergency” to a “risk” is a step in a positive direction towards the end of the pandemic, yet still goes to show how Covid is still prominent.

It is intriguing to compare the Covid-19 pandemic to the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, as history so often does repeat itself. In order for the Spanish flu to fizzle out it took four waves, by which by the time the fourth wave gripped society it was ignored by the public and life continued as normal despite the high death toll. This seems to be mirroring the attitude towards Covid today, with many such as myself finding themselves referring to it as a past pandemic, rather than a current one.

But, what could the end of Covid-19 look like on a global scale? Would it require zero new cases? A lack of any global restrictions? These questions are seemingly difficult to answer and leave plenty of room for debate. Dr Mike Ryan claims that “in most cases, pandemics truly end when the next pandemic begins”. To me this seems like a rather pessimistic outlook on health trends, but rings some truth to it. Perhaps, Covid-19 may only be deemed finished when a new, more threatening pandemic takes its place. When this time will come seems far into the future, an unimaginable yet achievable reality.

Hand holding Rapid Antigen Test kit with Negative result during swab COVID-19 testing” by focusonmore.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0.