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Epidemic to Endemic

Although it’s impossible to forecast the course of COVID-19 infections in the future, experts can make predictions about the course of the pandemic. Recently, YNHHS epidemiologist Richard Martinello, MD, shared his perspective on how COVID-19 might evolve from an epidemic to an endemic.  

Based on historical observation and knowledge of the characteristics of the virus causing COVID-19, one reasonable path is that it might become a “childhood disease”—a viral infection that remains common in the population but results in a milder infection. Since most of the population will have had mild illness as a child, thereby developing some immunity, infections in adults could still occur as the immunity wanes.  Even in adults, most infections would be mild, though some might experience more serious symptoms, or, in small numbers, adults might experience secondary infections (bacterial) in the setting of primary viral infections.