Dr Gregory Poland (pictured), a top epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic, warned Covid could be with humans for so long that ‘your great-great-great-grandchildren will still be getting immunized’ against the virus
While many Americans are beginning to look towards a life after Covid, and some experts are making optimistic predictions about the future of the pandemic, the entire scientific community is not in agreement.
Dr Gregory Poland, epidemiologist for the Mayo Clinic and is editor-in-chief of the scientific journals ‘Vaccine’ and one of the nation’s top experts on vaccination and immunology, said this week that the virus could be affecting humans for the next century.
In a conversation with MarketWatch on Tuesday he gave a grave prediction that counters what some worldwide global health experts are saying.
Due to the rapid transmission of the Omicron Covid variant combined with its more mild nature, experts are hopeful that it be the strain that transitions the virus from a pandemic to an endemic, meaning the pattern of the virus is stable and predictable. Poland does not share the same optimistic point of view.
‘We are not yet at any stage where we could predict endemicity. We’re not going to eradicate it,’ Poland said.
He noted that the virus has shown the ability to infect animals, meaning it can potentially circulate indefinitely as it transmits across species and continues to mutate.
Poland believes the virus will circulate for so long that people will still be receiving Covid shots for generations down the line.
Transmission of COVID-19 has been so rampant among the vaccinated, unvaccinated and even among animals that Poland, and other experts, fear it will be impossible to control and circulate for dozens of years down the line. Pictured: A woman in Thornton, Colorado, receives a shot of a COVID-19 vaccine on March 6, 2021
‘So let me make a prediction, which will be hard for any of you to hold me to because we will all be dead by then, but your great-great-great-grandchildren will still be getting immunized against coronavirus,’
‘How can I even say such a thing? If you got your flu vaccine this fall you were immunized against a strain of influenza that showed up in 1918 and caused a pandemic.’
This is not the first grim prediction Poland has made, and he has been correct before.
Last month, he told DailyMail.com that he believed 32,000 people would die from Covid between early December to the end of the year.
‘32,000 Americans who think they’re going to be alive to celebrate Christmas and New Years are, no pun intended, dead wrong,’ he said on December 9.
‘Not one of them believes [they will die].’
During that period, 31,000 U.S. Covid deaths were recorded, nearly a spot on prediction, per Our World in Data.
Poland is not the only expert whose forecasts for the future of the pandemic are not as rosy as the forming consensus.
Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert and director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Disease, warned last week that a new Covid strain could form that would dramatically alter the state of the pandemic – like the Omicron variant did after Delta.
‘I would hope that [Covid becoming endemic is] the case. But that would only be the case if we don’t get another variant that eludes the immune response of the prior variant,’ Fauci said during a Davos Agenda virtual event.
Fauci has also made contrarian statements about the future of the pandemic that proved to be true in the past, predicting in August that a vaccine-resistant Covid strain was likely on the horizon due to the rampant spread of the virus among the unvaccinated.
A few months later, South African officials would discover the Omicron variant during the week of Thanksgiving.
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, also warned this week that it would be dangerous to assume that Omicron is the ‘endgame’ Covid variant.
The Omicron variant caused Covid cases to explode across Europe, Africa and the U.S. after its discovery in late-November.
The mutant strain did not prove to be a long lived, one, as it has already largely receded in the UK and South Africa – the countries that were hit the hardest and fastest by the variant.
Even in the U.S., places like New York and New Jersey that were struck first by the variant are now recording sharp declines in cases.
The variant is also more mild than other forms of the virus, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealing data Tuesday showing that Covid cases peaked 400 percent higher during the Omicron wave than they did during the summer Delta surge – though deaths were actually down four percent.
Omicron’s lack of longevity and generally more mild nature has many hopeful that it will be the variant that burns the pandemic out, as so many will have natural antibodies from infection it will run of people to infect.