A leading UK oncologist says there are three potential outcomes for the future of COVID-19 – but warns that the virus “wants to live with us” long-term.
Professor Karol Sikora, who is Dean of Medicine at the University of Buckingham, described three potential outcomes for the pandemic when he appeared on the BBC this week.
Prof Sikora (pictured), who is a leading oncologist and former chief of the World Health Organization’s cancer programme, said the first option was that the virus just “fizzles out”.
“Number one is what we all want, the thing just fizzles out, it causes very few deaths, very few hospitalisations, nobody gets really ill, and it just gradually drifts into that sort of hinterland of a chronic viral infection, sits in the population and bubbles up now and again without too much problem, just like the flu, just like the common cold,” Professor Sikora said.
“The second outcome is local spikes and the third outcome is full-blown second wave, we genuinely don’t know what’s going to happen.
“I think, being positive about it, it’s got to be the first one, but there are other scenarios that we have to plan for, that’s the problem.”
He said both human behaviour and the virus had changed during the global pandemic.
“It’s probably changed again, it wants to live with us, that’s the problem, it wants to actually be nice to us and go on forever living with us, and killing us is not a good way to start a relationship,” said Professor Sikora.
“It is trying to change, we’ve certainly changed – what we’ve heard about the schools trying to implement handwashing, social distancing, all the other things – that’s a change in our behaviour and that will drive the infection down.
“What the outcome is now, with local spikes, or second wave, or just fizzling out we have to see, but I’m the fizzling out brigade, I must say.”
In the most recent WHO situation report, there were 1.8 million confirmed new cases – an increase from the previous week – which takes the worldwide total number of cases to more than 25 million in the last six months.