So 53 of the world’s top epidemiologists, pharmacologists, virologists, immunologists, and policy experts came together to nail down the best ways to do that. Under the leadership of Ezekiel Emanuel, vice provost for global initiatives at the University of Pennsylvania and a former Biden Transition COVID-19 Advisory Board member, the experts have published a COVID Roadmap that details several key strategies.
“We’re not talking about a scenario where it’s possible to eradicate the virus, like we did with smallpox and like we’re close to doing with polio. What we’re really talking about is thinking about what normal looks like next, and what a post-pandemic world looks like, knowing that we’re not, in some ways, going back to what things were like in 2019,” said one of the study’s experts, Dr. John Wherry, director of the Penn Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania.
“It’s really about getting to what we’re calling the next normal,” Wherry said — and sustaining it.
The experts agreed on three different paths they thought the pandemic could take:
- A pessimistic scenario, in which the virus changes, a new variant arises that is as concerning as omicron, and population immunity fades — all of which could lead to more serious illness, and therefore, increased interventions.
- A middle-of-the-road scenario, in which the virus continues to evolve in ways that are less harmful, but still significant. Population immunity would continue to be strong, but certain groups of people would not be as protected by the vaccines.
- And an optimistic scenario, in which the omicron wave is the last wave of significant human impact, and COVID-19 becomes a seasonal respiratory infection like influenza.
Then the experts came up with several strategies to advance the world to the optimistic scenario. Here are some highlights:
FILE – Cristina Licup receives her COVID-19 booster shot where she works at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. A requirement to get vaccinated against COVID-19 kicks in Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 for millions of health care workers in about half the states. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)