The world has endured many changes since the COVID-19 pandemic started, back in early 2020. Everyone’s lives were seemingly turned upside down and uncertainty permeated every aspect of daily life.
Now three years have passed, and fortunately life has slowly started shifting back to what we consider a new type of normal. Yet, the truth is that Covid is still very much a part of our lives. So, it’s fair to ask: When will COVID-19 finally be over and will it end in 2023?
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at experts’ predictions for the new year.
Let’s dive in!
Current status of the COVID-19 pandemic
As of this writing, over 100 million current COVID cases have been confirmed in the US and according to the CDC:
- New Covid cases average 487,387 (per week)
- Hospitalizations average 5,374 (per day)
- Fatal cases average 2,952 (per day)
- Only 14.6% of the US population has currently received at least one booster dose
Judging by these numbers, we can agree that Covid is far from over yet. Although booster vaccines are widely distributed, the majority of the population has been unwilling or uninterested in receiving them.
Additionally, only 69% of the US population has completed their first vaccination scheme. And you’ve heard experts’ remarks in the past:when some people remain unvaccinated, the entire community is subsequently weakened.
Moreover, there are other important facts to consider:
- COVID-19 variants and sub-variants can still spread and mutate among the community, affecting vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike
- Omicron variants are highly infectious, although they are less lethal in general
- Some viruses from the Omicron family have become resistant to current vaccines available
- Many cases go unreported because infected people get tested at home, or don’t get tested at all
“Covid isn’t gone,” says Preeti Malani, M.D., professor of medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Michigan Health.
Still, the virus could throw some curveballs in 2023, like it’s done before. Here’s what infectious disease experts are keeping a close eye on in the new year.
What will happen in 2023, with the facts we’ve shared from COVID-19 experts?
Will COVID-19 end in 2023?
On December 14th, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that it expects COVID-19 to no longer be a global health emergency by 2023. Why? Because its most dangerous phase has already passed.
Nevertheless, COVID-19 seems unlikely to disappear anytime soon. In fact, there is a likelihood that Covid will transition from a pandemic to an endemic in 2023. In other words, Covid has the potential to become a familiar and seasonal disease, like the flu.
This is a mixed bag of good and bad news. Although weaker variants may result in fewer fatalities in a future endemic, human losses may still occur and stagger. For example, the Omicron variant is less deadly than the Delta variant. However, since Omicron spreads more rapidly, it has resulted in a higher number of fatal cases.
Covid still poses potential long-term health conditions
No matter what phase we consider Covid to be in, allowing it to spread unchecked or untreated can lead to many long-term symptoms. While “Long Covid” and Post-Covid Conditions are still being investigated.
There is no test that determines if your symptoms or condition is due to COVID-19. Post-COVID conditions are not one illness. Your healthcare provider considers a diagnosis of post-COVID conditions based on your health history, including if you had a diagnosis of COVID-19 either by a positive test or by symptoms or exposure, as well as doing a health examination.
COVID-19 in 2023: How it’ll spread and how to stay safe
The term “endemic” refers to a disease that exists continuously in a particular population (e.g: HIV, flu, or malaria). Endemics are difficult to eradicate, but they’re still manageable—especially if the affected population is aware of how to prevent it.
When it comes to an endemic, the main focus is to mitigate social damage by preventing the spread of the disease. Consequently, if Covid becomes an endemic, it’s likely that there will be seasonal efforts to control it, just like getting your routine flu shot.
For instance, crowded spaces may require mask-wearing at certain times of the year. Quarantine restrictions may also become routine. At the end of the day, if you are ill with Covid, staying home will protect others from infection, just like staying home with the flu.
Additionally, yearly Covid booster shots may also become a “new normal.” Just like flu strains, keeping up with the constantly changing Covid variants/sub-variants may require annual shots.
All in all, chances are that Covid may never leave us. Nonetheless, masks and vaccines can help prevent hospitalizations and keep the virus in check.
Covid is now better controlled than it has ever been.. In fact, if future Covid variants continue to become less lethal, COVID-19 is not likely to resurface as a pandemic.
Covid is predicted to turn into an endemic, at some point during 2023. So, the illness will eventually become part of the regular respiratory disease list. Still, it’s important to limit hospitalizations, long-term symptoms, and fatal cases by taking proper precautions. Ultimately, that’s the only way to keep you and those around you safe.
- Wash your hands frequently
- Wear a face mask in crowded indoor places
- Stay up-to-date on your vaccinations
- Get tested if you experience any symptoms and report it if you test positive
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