June 9, 2021 ~ The Guardian ~ by Kate Connolly
Covid could become seasonal epidemic by winter, says German expert
Christian Drosten says disease likely to recur for several years but be kept under control by vaccine top-ups
The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to become an epidemic by the autumn or winter, which can be expected to recur every year but be controlled by vaccine boosters, according to a leading German virologist.
Christian Drosten has said he believes the number of coronavirus cases will rise after the summer but that the disease will be controllable. While a rise was likely to be described as a “fourth wave”, he said, in all probability it would mark the beginning of a “new, endemic phase” or a “seasonal epidemic” that would recur for several years but could be kept under control by vaccine top-ups.
Drosten, the head of virology at Berlin’s university hospital, the Charité, who has been a key and consistent voice advising government and public health policymakers throughout the pandemic, said that despite clear indications the virus was increasingly under control, this was in danger of being undermined by people failing to get their second jab or believing that vaccines were no longer necessary.
“At the moment we are in a transition phrase,” Drosten said on Corona Update, a popular weekly podcast on the German radio station NDR. “The next goal which we have to have in our sights as a society is for 80% of the adult population to have been fully vaccinated.” He said all expectations were for Germany to have reached that goal by the end of August or mid-September. Currently 23% have received a full vaccination and 47% have had had one dose.