Covid-19: from most likely to worst, the three WHO epidemic scenarios for 2022

The WHO is considering three different scenarios for the future of Covid-19 around the world. From a new variant to the progressive reduction of the disease, an overview of the three paths that the epidemic can take in 2022.

In France and around the world, the rebound of the epidemic It has been undeniable in recent weeks. This Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) shared its “updated strategic plan” for the preparation and response to Covid-19. This is the third since the start of the epidemic, more than two years ago. This plan, the CEO of The OMSDr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hopes it will be the last, he said on March 30 during a talks.

During this intervention, the WHO detailed three scenarios As for the future of the pandemic in 2022, from the most probable for worse.

Scenario 1: most likely

Based on current data, “the most likely scenario is that the virus continues to evolve“Unsurprisingly, the WHO does not foresee a total disappearance of Covid-19 and its variants, but tends to think that the defense strategy against them should be similar to the current handling of the virus against influenza.

“The severity of illness caused by the virus will decrease over time as immunity increases in all populations, through vaccination and infections,” it said. Depending on “periodic spikes in cases and deaths as immunity declines”, control measures will undoubtedly need to be strengthened on an ad hoc basis, especially for vulnerable populations. Like the flu epidemic every year, covid vaccination campaigns could occur seasonally.

Scenario 2: the best

Second scenario, the one that the WHO longed for so much, the appearance of new less serious variants. A bit like Omicron but in an even more benign version, these new variants would be a boon to the evolution of the epidemic. Ideally, they would be less severe. The current vaccines would no longer be necessary, as well as the development of new formulas.

Scenario 3: the worst

Finally, the last scenario foreseen by the WHO would be the worst. While new, less dangerous variants may emerge, the opposite is also true for more worrisome variants. If Omicron and BA.2 are on the border of the good and bad variant because they are less dangerous than the original source, on the other hand they are much more contagious.

The emergence of a variant, more dangerous and at the same time more virulent, it would reset the epidemic counters and could trigger a global recession again. If the “interest” of the virus is to reproduce as much as possible, it must avoid killing the host at the risk of disappearing and not finding the right balance for its survival, hence the low chances that the world is headed for this scenario. .

If so, “the current vaccines will have to be considerably modified and ensure that they reach the most vulnerable people as a priority,” the WHO hopes.

The WHO’s five tips to avoid the worst

To put an end to the acute phase currently affecting Europe and Asia, the WHO director-general mentions five essential components in which countries must invest this year.

The first: “surveillance, laboratories and intelligence in public health. Then comes “vaccination, public health, social measures and committed communities”, then “the continuation of clinical care against Covid-19 and the search for resilient health systems” , finally “equitable access to tools” and the “coordination” of the States to move from emergency management to long-term management of respiratory diseases.

“Striving to vaccinate 70% of the population in each country remains essential to control the pandemic, giving priority to health workers, the elderly and other risk groups,” the UN body concluded. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s Madame Covid, stressed that even in its current form “the virus still has a lot of energy”.

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