The current "slow burn" nature of COVID-19's spread in the United States and beyond has resulted in numerous predictions of late over just how long until a return to "normal" - with some even saying there will never actually be a pre-virus normal again, suggesting a 'socially distanced world' will continue well beyond 2020.
At a moment President Trump is teasing a new "major therapeutic breakthrough" on COVID-19, to be announced Sunday evening, the World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has issued less than optimistic remarks, to put it mildly.
Calling the coronavirus as a “once-in-a-century health crisis” akin to the last one, the 1918 flu pandemic, Tedros expressed hope that the pandemic will be over in less than two years.
The WHO chief said during a press briefing on Friday that “We hope to finish this pandemic (in) less than two years, especially if we can pool our efforts.”
Such a prediction certainly won't be greeted as welcome by those pinning their hopes on this being over by the end of the year. The WHO is largely basing its prediction on patterns observed from the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
WHO’s chief of Health Emergencies, Dr. Michael Ryan, said that COVID-19 is displaying a more aggressive and less predictable resurgence compared to the 1918 flu.
“This virus is not displaying a similar wave-like pattern,” Ryan said. “When the virus is not under control, it jumps straight back up.”
Meanwhile, competing predictions over how quickly this nightmare and accompanying economic pause and slowdowns will end has spilled over into the political arena - and the question of will a possible Joe Biden presidency bring another national lockdown?
Despite biggest ever job gains and a V shaped recovery, Joe Biden said, “I would shut it down”, referring to our Country. He has no clue!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 22, 2020
Tedros in his Friday remarks did suggest things are different this time compared to the devastation of the 1918 virus, given huge advances in medical technology.
Yet still, he emphasized that “Throughout history, outbreaks and pandemics have changed economies and societies. This one will be no different.”