The coronavirus may never go away and populations will have to learn to live with it just as they have HIV, the World Health Organization has warned, as the global death toll from the disease nears 300,000.
Mike Ryan, the WHO emergencies director, said on Wednesday that the virus that causes Covid-19 could become endemic like HIV, warning against any attempt to predict how long it would keep circulating.
“It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away,” Mr Ryan said.
“I think it is important we are realistic and I don’t think anyone can predict when this disease will disappear,” he added.
“I think there are no promises in this and there are no dates. This disease may settle into a long problem, or it may not be.”
However, he said the world had some control over how it coped with the disease, although this would take a “massive effort” even if a vaccine was found – a prospect he described as a “massive moonshot”.