DIRECT SANTÉ – Coronavirus: the three scenarios issued by the WHO

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 epidemic rebound has been undeniable in recent weeks. This Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) shared its “updated strategic plan” for preparedness and response to Covid-19. This is the third since the start of the epidemic, more than two years ago. This plan, the Director General of the WHO, Doctor Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, hopes will be the last, he said on March 30 during a speech.

Scenario 1: most likely

According to 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 management of the virus against influenza.

“The severity of illness the virus causes will decrease over time as immunity increases in all populations, through vaccination and infections,” it read. Depending on “periodic spikes in cases and deaths as immunity wanes,” there will certainly be a need to step up control measures 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, that so much hoped for by the WHO, the appearance of new less serious variants. A bit like Omicron but in an even more benign version, these new variants would be a blessing for the evolution of the epidemic. Ideally, they would be less serious. Current vaccines would no longer be needed, as would the development of new formulas.

Scenario 3: the worst

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

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