Experts Explain What Would Happen 1 Year In The COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 brought many challenges to the world in the past six months. Confirmed cases have reached more than 11.5 million and experts said the global population will continue to see changes as part of the new normal.

The coronavirus pandemic did not only put people at risk of death because of its complications. Declining economies, job loss, business closures, very limited access to health care and growing mental health problems are among the issues brought by the health crisis. 

Politics have also been contributing to the problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) and other health experts blamed poor government response for the rapid spread of COVID-19 in several countries. 

“In these six months, I think the virus has been far more effective than most of our responses,” Stephen Morse, epidemiologist at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, told Business Insider. “I never anticipated that a pandemic would become a political issue.”

The first half of 2020 ended with challenges and significant changes that affected millions of people around the world. Scientists predict that changes will continue in the next six months but governments and the medical community might soon find ways to address the issues associated with COVID-19. 

One Year In COVID-19 Pandemic

Families To Do At-Home Testing 

Morse and Amesh Adalja, a scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, believe that more options for coronavirus testing will come out in the U.S. and other countries by end of the year.

One potential approach to diagnosing COVID-19 easily is at-home testing kits. Adalja said this new tool would enable individuals and families to test themselves for the virus without leaving their houses, which reduces the risk of infection or transmission. 

Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Available

Morse hopes a vaccine for COVID-19 will be “within our grasp” by Dec. 30. Researchers are expected to begin human trials with 30 potential coronavirus vaccines before the end of the year. 

Meanwhile, 16 leading candidates have already started human testing. One vaccine developed by biotech company Moderna will move to a late-stage efficacy trial with 30,000 people in July.

More COVID-19 Treatments 

Researchers have yet to develop a specific treatment for COVID-19. Remdesivir has been leading the race after it appeared effective in helping infected people recover more quickly in hospitals. 

Clinical trials also showed that dexamethasone, a common steroid, could help reduce deaths in severe cases of COVID-19. Adalja said more doctors would start leveraging those drugs to treat patients by December. 

Lockdowns Will Be Over

Several parts of the U.S. and other countries have been slowly reopening. Morse and Adalja think that despite the growing coronavirus infections, widespread stay-at-home orders are unlikely to return. 

Governments might focus tailored restrictions to manage the spread of coronavirus in hotspots.

“The blanket shutdowns that did occur in March and April were the result of us having no idea who was infected, and state governors saw no way out of it except for a blunt tool,” Adalja said. “Now we have some idea of what activities are driving infections so we can use a more tactical, surgical approach to closing places.”

New Challenges In 2021

After a year in the COVID-19 pandemic, Morse fears that people will get used to the presence of the virus. There may be more complacency infection risk.

He said the public may start ignoring safety measures, like social distancing, wearing face masks and hand hygiene. Another new challenge is to encourage the majority of the population to get the coronavirus vaccine when it becomes available.

A recent survey found that one in five Americans plan to refuse a COVID-19 vaccine.

coronavirus COVID-19 testing australia COVID-19 testing staff are seen at a pop-up site at Keilor Community Hub on June 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. A man in his 80s died overnight in Victoria from coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state to 20. The death is the first COVID-19 fatality for Victoria in many weeks and also comes as 20 new coronavirus cases were confirmed today. Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday warned of another possible lockdown should cases continue to rise, and has extended the state of emergency for at least four weeks to allow police the power to enforce social distancing rules. Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

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