‘How long coronavirus persists in people after the initial pandemic stage depends on the duration of human immunity, researchers say.
According to the study, while one-time social distancing may suppress critical cases to within hospital capacity, infection will resurge once these measures are lifted.
This will overwhelm hospitals to the extent that social distancing may need to be maintained intermittently into 2022, the research suggests.
The new modelling study indicates the total incidence of the virus through 2025 will depend crucially on the duration of human immunity – which scientists currently know little about.
Researchers say longitudinal serological studies are urgently required to determine the extent of population immunity, whether immunity wanes, and at what rate.
Experts think it is unlikely that Covid-19 will follow its closest cousin, Sars-CoV-1, and be eradicated by intensive public health measures after causing a brief pandemic.
Instead, the transmission could resemble that of pandemic influenza by circulating seasonally.
Stephen Kissler, a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Grad Lab, department of immunology and infectious diseases, and colleagues, used data on seasonality from other known human coronaviruses – assuming some cross-immunity between them and Sars-CoV-2 – to build a model of multi-year interactions.’