The medical community is largely in agreement that COVID-19 is or will inevitably become a fixture of life, meaning it’s endemic.
Jennifer Clark of OSU’s Project ECHO spoke today at an update for healthcare providers.
“One of the things that’s become a consensus believe it or not is that COVID-19 is likely now endemic. Early on, particularly as the vaccines were rolling out with the effectiveness and the efficiency that we started with, there was a potential for us a species to eradicate COVID-19. Unfortunately we missed it.”
This stands in contrast to SARS in 2013 and West Africa’s Ebola eruption of 2014 where infection control stopped the spread of those outbreaks.
Clark said endemicity means we will have spikes and then eventually descend to a baseline level of infection in the community.
“We’re probably not even halfway through this curve yet. We’ll probably have another one in the fall and winter, and likely endemic status will happen here in our part of the country in spring.”
The timeline for reaching endemic status is different for each community. It’s dependent on immunity from vaccines and natural infection, level of contact that promotes spread, and transmissibility.
“This concept that we’re moving into endemic status and we’re no longer in eradicating mode is something we all have to anticipate and prepare for,” said Clark.