The coronavirus pandemic could continue into 2022 and won’t be under control until a majority of the world’s population becomes immune, a report released by experts Thursday says.
The report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota says based on the most recent flu pandemics, the highly transmissible coronavirus that causes COVID-19 will likely keep spreading for as long as two years, and will likely not stop spreading until 60 to 70 percent of the population is immune.
Infected people may also be at their most infectious prior to symptoms appearing, Bloomberg News reported.
Based on the most recent flu pandemics, and the rate at which the coronavirus is able to spread, the report projected the Covid-19 outbreak would last between 18 months and two years.
The report comes as the United States and other countries around the world have started loosening social distancing restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus, and developers are racing to manufacture potential vaccines.
Public health officials have warned of a rebound of infections in the U.S. if restrictions are lifted too soon without a vaccine, which health experts say could take anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
The report was authored by Osterholm, alongside CIDRAP medical director Kristen Moore, Tulane University public health historian John Barry, and Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health.
Coronavirus disease has killed more than 238,000 people and infected some 3.25 million, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 1 million people have recovered.