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How long will it last?

When will the pandemic end?

The following article was approved for publication by the European Journal of Clinical Investigation. It was written by John P.A. Ioannidis, the same scientist who warned us against the use of prolonged lockdowns to control the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

In this journal article, Ioannidis rounds up all the new information available about SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 and attempts to provide us with a long-term outlook of the impact of the disease. At full cycle, Ioannidis estimates that we can expect a total of 8.76 million COVID-19 deaths in 5 years. He says, however, that reduction in deaths is possible if infection among high-risk groups are limited and death toll among high-risk groups are kept at 10%. Ioannidis also offers a clearer explanation of the impact of lockdowns in terms of the Years of life lost (YLL), as well as the disruption it has caused in our lives and societies.

Ioannidis also offers a critical analysis of the concerns which arose in the way this pandemic has been handled, offering a deep dive into death rates, how these deaths were recorded, as well as the measures taken to address these issues. He also offers to us an understanding of the behavior of COVID-19 and an objective analysis of death data to assess its true risk.

Editor’s Note: Ioannidis is a well known figure in medical science, with his journal articles as some of the most cited in medical history. A 2010 article published by The Atlantic said that Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive.

Despite his credentials, however, Ioannidis’ early statements on the impact of lockdowns vs. true COVID-19 deaths have earned him widespread criticism. Now, seven months into the pandemic, we are starting to see that Ioannidis was in fact, right in saying that lockdowns will cause more harm than the virus itself.

This new article from Ioannidis is important because it offers to us an objective assessment of the best data and knowledge available about COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2. It is a sobering reminder of how short a time has passed since the first COVID-19 case, and how much damage we have already caused our societies. When viewed in this long-term perspective, we can begin to assess that much of the solutions being implemented today cannot be sustainable.

If we wish to sustain our societies for the remaining four years until this pandemic has gone through its full cycle (Ioannidis says that the pandemic will complete its full cycle in five years), our governments must begin to look at alternative solutions. In the Philippines, as well as in other developing countries, it is clear that we cannot simply rely on a vaccine to miraculously eradicate all of our coronavirus troubles.

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