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COVID-19 will have peak seasons in the future, expert says

COVID-19 will never go away completely and will rise and fall

A sign in Texas requesting masks be worn.
A sign showing a drawing of Willie Nelson requesting masks be worn is posted near the entrance to 3TEN in Austin, Texas, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.
Chuck Burton, Associated Press

The novel coronavirus won’t ever go away, and instead will become an endemic virus much like the flu, said Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner.

Gottlieb recently told CNBC that the pandemic phase of COVID-19 will end soon, especially as more people become vaccinated against COVID-19. But, he said, the endemic phase will start next — where people will be infected with COVID-19 at peak seasons.

  • Gottlieb said an annual COVID-19 season should be expected in the future. Businesses and workplaces will need to prepare for that.
  • COVID-19 will be a “persistent risk, persistent virus that circulates every year,” he said.

This has been the thinking among experts and scientists for about a year. Back in November 2020, experts suggested the coronavirus will become seasonal and it will be something to deal with every year.

  • “By now we can expect the coronavirus to become seasonal,” said Ralf Bartenschlager, professor in the department of infectious diseases at Heidelberg University, per SciTech Daily. “Thus, there is an urgent need to develop and implement both prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against this virus.”

Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel recently told the Neue Zuercher Zeitung newspaper in Switzerland that the U.S. is nearing that point, too, because enough people have gotten the vaccine. He said those who do not get the vaccine will most likely catch the virus and become naturally immune.

  • “Those who do not get vaccinated will immunize themselves naturally, because the delta variant is so contagious,” he said. “In this way we will end up in a situation similar to that of the flu. You can either get vaccinated and have a good winter. Or you don’t do it and risk getting sick and possibly even ending up in hospital.”