We are not at the “beginning of the end” of the coronavirus pandemic, but near the “end of the beginning,” Yale University Professor of Social and Natural Science Nicholas Christakis warned in an interview with Skai television on Monday night.
Predicting that the pandemic will unfold in three phases, Christakis said that the final stretch of recovery will depend on an adequate proportion of the population being vaccinated against Covid-19 or having recovered from the disease, adding that new, more transmissible strains of the virus have pushed that target further out of reach.
“To be safe now – because with the original strain we could have gotten by with a much smaller percentage, but the virus has become much more infectious – 85% to 90% of the population would have to be vaccinated or infected,” said Christakis, who is also an expert in internal medicine and biomedical engineering.
The second phase, he added, would be about “cleaning up” after the devastation of the coronavirus, which he likened to a “tsunami” that “destroys households.”
For every Covid-19 fatality, he noted, that are around five patients who survive the disease but are left with debilitating damage to their hearts, kidneys or lungs, for example.
The third post-pandemic phase, he added, should not be expected until 2024, when the world will have suffered a lot more casualties than it would have with a better exit strategy.
“We could be done with this war if everyone got the vaccine,” he said, likening the pandemic to World War I when tens of thousands of lives were lost before news of the Armistice spread.
The choice, he said, is between getting the vaccine or getting the disease.
“If you get the disease, you have one in a hundred chances of dying. If you get the vaccine, you have less than one in a million chances of dying,” he stressed.