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Want to return to pre-COVID life? It might not be for awhile

The chief science officer at the World Health Organization said a life like before COVID-19 isn’t happening for awhile.

in this Feb. 12, 2020 file photo, Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s Chief Scientist gives a statement to the media about the response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
in this Feb. 12, 2020, file photo, Soumya Swaminathan, WHO’s chief scientist gives a statement to the media about the response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Salvatore Di Nolfi, Keystone via Associated Press

Returning to a life like before COVID-19 existed might take another year or so, according to Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, the chief science officer at the World Health Organization.

What’s going on?

Swaminathan spoke in Geneva Tuesday about the future of the planet and how things will shift amid the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN reports. And it turns out people may need to wait until 2022 for it to happen.

  • “We’re looking at 2022 at least before enough people start getting the vaccine to build immunity. So for a long time to come, we have to maintain the same kind of measures that are currently being put in place with physical distancing, the masking and respiratory hygiene,” said Swaminathan, speaking to reporters during a virtual meeting hosted by the United Nations Foundation.
  • “Those will have to continue after the vaccine starts getting rolled out, because we need 60% to 70% of the population to have immunity before you will start seeing a dramatic reduction in transmission of this virus,” Swaminathan said. ”We also don’t know how long these vaccines will protect for — that’s the other big question mark: How long does immunity last? And it’s possible that you will need a booster.”

Other scientists have said something similar

Vivek Murthy, a surgeon general under President Barack Obama, said something similar back in July, according to Fortune.

  • “If the goal is to return life to some semblance of what it was like pre-pandemic, I don’t see that happening in 2021.”
  • “Even in an optimistic scenario, it would likely be closer to mid-2021 that we would see vaccines starting to be distributed at scale.”