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We’re not even close to the end of the pandemic, expert says

Larry Brilliant, a well-known epidemiologist, said we’re closer to the beginning of the pandemic than the end of it

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The school board chambers with full capacity and socially distanced seating.

The main auditorium of the school board chambers was full with socially distanced seating, with more spectators and speakers outside the room in an overflow seating area Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, for the Duval County School Board in Jacksonville, Fla.

Bob Self, The Florida Times-Union via Associated Press

Larry Brilliant, a well-known epidemiologist, recently shared some dire news about the state of the pandemic across the world — we’re not even close to the end.

When does the pandemic end?

Brilliant, an epidemiologist who worked with the World Health Organization to help stop the smallpox outbreak, told CNBC this week that the delta variant is “maybe the most contagious virus” ever.

He said the entire world is still suffering from the novel coronavirus, and it’s a sign the pandemic might not even be close to ending.

  • “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 CNBC.
  • “Unless we vaccinate everyone in 200-plus countries, there will still be new variants,” he said.

Brilliant said the coronavirus will become a “forever virus” like the flu.

Will there be more COVID-19 variants?

Brilliant’s comments come as the delta variant continues to spread throughout the United States and the world. Nevan Krogan, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biosciences, told The Washington Post the delta variant is the “Goldilocks virus” because it has the right mutations to spread rapidly among the human population.

But delta might not be the end of the virus’ surge. Experts told Newsweek that more COVID-19 variants might come soon.

  • “I wouldn’t be incredibly surprised if something else came along that’s even more transmissible,” Eric Vail, director of molecular pathology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, told Newsweek.
  • “Nobody knows what tricks the virus has left,” Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told The Washington Post. “It’s possible we’ve seen all of its chess moves, or its poker tricks, but it’s got a very big complicated genome and it probably still has some space to explore.”