We Are Closer To Beginning Than End Of Pandemic, Says Epidem
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Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who was part of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) team that helped eradicate smallpox, has said that the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t going to end soon. “I think we’re closer to the beginning than we are to the end [of the pandemic], and that’s not because the variant that we’re looking at right now is going to last that long,” Brilliant told.

He added that unless everyone in over 200 plus countries is vaccinated, there will be new variants predicting that coronavirus will become “forever virus” like influenza. Daily new COVID-19 cases have climbed to a six-month high in the United States, with more than 100,000 infections reported nationwide as the Delta variant ravaged Florida and other states with lower vaccination rates.

Countries in Southeast Asia are also reporting rising cases. With just 8 percent of the world's population, the region is reporting almost 15 percent of all global cases each day, according to a Reuters analysis. Viruses constantly evolve through mutation, with new variants arising. Sometimes these are more dangerous than the original.

The major worry about the Delta variant is not that it makes people sicker, but that it spreads far more easily from person to person, increasing infections and hospitalisations among the unvaccinated. Brilliant said that in addition to boosting vaccinations, people who are 65 years and above have weakened immune systems and thus require booster shots. “It is this category of people that we’ve seen create multiple mutations when the virus goes through their body,” he said.

“So those people, I would say, should be given a third dose, a booster right away — as quickly as moving the vaccines to those countries that haven’t had a very high chance to buy them or have access to them. I consider those two things about equal,” he added.