Will COVID-19 end after omicron? Expert predicts omicron variant’s future

The omicron variant could continue to spread quickly, but it might not delay the return to normal

By Herb Scribner

Shoppers rush along Oxford Street, Europe’s busiest shopping street, in London on Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. Health officials are unsure how long the omicron variant will linger in the public space. Frank Augstein, Associated Press

The omicron variant has started to make an impact on the United States. But will this new variant be the final wave of coronavirus infections?

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, recently predicted that the omicron variant will only be a “temporary incident” on the road back to normality.

“I think people are really tired of living diminished lives from COVID generally. And you’re seeing that in terms of what people are doing,” he said in an interview on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “They’re reengaging activity that we know are going to be conducive to the spread of this virus. Omicron really has thrown a curveball here. I think that this is a temporary incident.”

Gottlieb said omicron will surge through the United States, giving us a series of rough months.

  • “I think Omicron is going to blow its way through the population probably very quickly, when you look at what happened in South Africa and even what’s happening in the U.K. right now, where it’s moving very fast,” Gottlieb said. “But we do face a hard four to six weeks ahead of us, as this moves through the population. I think it is prudent, especially for people who are going to be around vulnerable individuals, to take added precautions heading into the holidays.”

That said, executives with the vaccine developer Pfizer said the coronavirus will be with us forever, becoming a regional and endemic sickness every year, according to CNBC.

  • “We believe Covid will transition to an endemic state, potentially by 2024,” Nanette Cocero, global president of Pfizer Vaccines, said Friday, per CNBC.

Mikael Dolsten, Pfizer’s chief scientific officer, said the future depends on vaccinations and other methods of treatment, as per for the Deseret News.

  • “When and how exactly this happens will depend on the evolution of the disease, how effectively society deploys vaccines and treatments, and equitable distribution to places where vaccination rates are low,” Dolsten said, per CNBC. “The emergence of new variants could also impact how the pandemic continues to play out.”

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