• Epidemic:-this can be defined as a disease that affects a large number of people within the borders of a community, country or population group. When corona originated in China, it was considered an epidemic as it affected only the locals within Wuhan.
• Pandemic: A pandemic is defined as a disease that spreads across countries or and continents. Covid-19 became a pandemic around February-March, affecting multiple countries and continents at once.
• Endemic: this is when a disease affects people within a country or continent predominantly. For instance, Malaria is considered as an Endemic in Africa.
Endemics are usually concentrated within a geographical location, affecting the populous majority .
Currently, Covid-19 has affected people indiscriminately across the globe, since its origin in China. Therefore, it is still by large, a pandemic. Chances are however, that in future, the virus will mutate into an endemic. What factors might lead to Covid-19 being an endemic disease?
1. Novelty vs of the disease: when a disease breaks out, doctors and scientists pull their knowledge together to try and understand exactly what they are dealing with.
Mostly, the goal is to create a vaccine that can help control the spread and longevity of the virus.
This can however be affe ted by how much information exists in relation to the said virus. In the case of covid-19, scientists have stated that this is a new disease and a virus that they have not dealt with before.
Owing to this, it will take time to create, test and avail vaccines to people, a situation which increases the chances of the disease being around longer.
2. Public response :Naturally, the beginning of any pandemic is usually on a national and global scale, which leads to unity in measures and researches in the fight against the potential risk.
This however might change in the long terms due to different factors such as ability to contribute in terms of funds.whatever the reason may be, the task of preventing the spread might be shifted from the public to private individuals.
3. Social and political behaviour: currently, the governments are working collaboratively, but each has the duty of ensuring its citizens are safe against covid-19. Besides collaborating with other governments, each country has to ensure maximum sensitisation of the issue at hand to its citizen.
Ensuring that masses are aware of the causes of coronavirus, ways through which it can be spread and the best preventive measures to take, is on the frontline in most countries.
In light of this, a lot of responsibility in maintaining safety is shifted to individuals. Tasks such as social distancing and maintaining good hygiene are an individuals’ effort in the fight to curb covid.
How does this come into play in an endemic? Some nations are able to provide information, sensitive the issues and ensure that individuals respect the laws put into place in order to fight covid-19.
5. For those who are able to, staying and working from home might be a total risk free move but for the lower economic class, almost impossible.
The disease therefore would be spread wide across those of a certain status, who are unable to avoid being out especially for economic reasons.
An endemic HIV and Aids which spread predominantly in Africa can be sighted as a similar case, where poverty was one of the biggest contribution factors to it’s spread.
It is also possible that people with lower economic means may not afford to purchase the provided measures, in a case where they are not freely availed by the government. This would lead to a higher risk and exposure to the said group, while the more abled individuals are able to access amenities necessary to mitigate risk.
6. Unpredictability of its end: corona virus is pretty new and unexpected. With it’s quick spread in mind, governments are collaborating and the medical bodies are doing extensive researches in order to develop a vaccine against it.
However, it is fair to say that when this vaccine can be availed to the masses is unknown. It is therefore impossible to foresee an end to the disease, and we can assume it might be here longterm, becoming an endemic.
7. Availability of a vaccine: corona virus is infectious to anyone across th globe, regardless of age, race or gender. With this is mind, eliminating the disease and potential risks posed by the same, requires for a total population vaccine.
In case the vaccine is made, nations would have to agree on how it is going to be availed to their citizens, and unavoidably, the economic power of a country comes into play. If vaccines were free, the less economically abled nations would greatly benefit, but there are other problems like physically delivering the vaccine to everyone including people in remote inaccessible areas.
8. Seasonality : although unproven, covid-19 is said to be reaching its peak during the winter seasons, owing to the low temperatures and humidity. The northern and southern hemispheres experience opposite temperatures at any given time of year, especially winters and summers.
The regions might therefore reach their peaks at different times of year, leading to a sort of a cycle of highs and peaks. The typical tropical and su-saharan regions are not really affected by seasons, and as seen, they have low levels of influenza infections.
Even though covid-19 is transmitted globally, seasonality might lead to less infections in the hotter climates and recurrences in the colder regions. It is not scientifically proven whether or not the coronavirus thrives under certain climatical conditions, but theoretically, it might lead to it being less in sub-saharan and tropical climates if it were to thrive less in hotter regions.