Health & Wellness

The Future of the Coronavirus: What Should We Expect in Years to Come?

It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? It’s almost hard to believe we’ve been dealing with this coronavirus for more than a solid year now. And I’ll bet you’re wondering the same as many others: What’s the future of the coronavirus?

After so much uncertainty, and some still ahead, I have some good news to share: We can look at what we’ve learned over the past year, what we know about virology (the study of viruses), and the emerging scientific and clinical studies to get a clearer picture of the future of the coronavirus.

So, let’s dive in and take a look at where we’re headed.

 

COVID: One Year Later

Before we talk about the future of the coronavirus, let’s just take a moment and think back to March 1, 2020. Life was simpler then, wasn’t it?

For many of us, we’d heard about something called a coronavirus over in China and knew there was some threat of a worldwide pandemic, but life was still operating normally.

Then, almost overnight, we were sent home from our jobs, our children were kept home from their friends and schools, and many were afraid to even venture to the grocery store—a place we’d all been just days earlier.

And when we did go out, we went out with masks for the first time ever. Plus, we couldn’t find certain foods—and you could just forget about grabbing toilet paper or paper towels

If you weren’t already stocked up, it was too late. (Confession: I had to borrow a few rolls from my neighbors at one point!)

Many were left confused, afraid, and uncertain about the future. How long would this last? Would life get back to normal if we all just stayed in our homes for couple of weeks? What was the future of the coronavirus?

As we watched the economy crash and even began to see loved ones or hear of others’ loved ones become gravely ill, it felt as if the world was spinning out of control.

And even if you weren’t personally touched by the disease itself, you either knew someone who was or you experienced the ramifications of it: depressed children, unprecedented amounts of stress and pressure from balancing work and homeschooling children, and/or forced distance between you and your loved ones.

We saw rates of depression, anxiety, and even self-harm and drug use skyrocket. It’s safe to say that 2020 was a year we would all love to forget and were happy to see end.

What We’ve Learned about COVID-19

Now, a little more than a year after it all began, we’ve learned a lot.

We’ve learned that this coronavirus, or COVID-19 as we’ve come to call it, can be very deadly when someone with certain compounding preexisting conditions contracts it.

Thankfully, we’ve also learned that the odds of that happening to the general population are pretty small. A year ago, experts believed between 2 to 3 percent of everyone who contracted the coronavirus would die.

Today, we know that about 1.8 percent of those who contract COVID-19 are at risk of dying. [1]

Keep in mind, that this means that 98.2 percent of those who contract COVID-19 are not as risk of death. And, as time goes on, the rate of survival may continue to increase even more.

Meanwhile, the risk of experiencing severe symptoms markedly increase with certain comorbidities such as obesity, diabetes, and kidney disease.

And those with these comorbidities who are also over age 65 are at increased likelihood of being admitted to the ICU. [2]

With that said, the number of ICU admissions have steadily declined since January 4, 2021, when hospitalizations from COVID-19 were at 129,800 in the U.S. On April 3rd, that number was down to 35,563. [3] This is great news and shows that we’re learning how to better navigate our current climate.

And speaking of navigating these modern times, within the last year, some pretty interesting studies revealed that our modern, chronic levels of stress play a big role in more severe COVID-19 symptoms and is even linked to a higher risk of death from the virus.

As you may recall, in a study published in June 2020, researchers followed 400 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and found that those with the highest cortisol levels (indicating greater stress) had a greater mortality risk than those with lower cortisol levels.

In fact, patients whose cortisol concentration doubled were 42 percent more likely to die from COVID-19! [4]

The takeaway here?

Fortunately, today, most cases are considered to be mild, and there are many treatment options available and clinical vaccine trials underway—meaning now is really the time to take a breath.

Try to not stress as much about COVID-19, especially since it’s been proven to make both the symptoms and the prognosis worse.

So, what are the treatment options? Well, countless studies over the last year have consistently confirmed the importance of nutritional therapy to help better protect ourselves.

For example, studies have shown that depleted levels of vitamin D are linked with an increased likelihood of being hospitalized with COVID-19.

In fact, one study found that more than 80 percent of hospitalized COVID-19 patients had one thing in common: They were deficient in vitamin D! [5]

And a review noted that based on many new studies, vitamin D supplementation could reduce the risk of both flu and COVID-19 infections and even deaths! [6]

Finally, yet another study stated that in patients aged 40 years and older, researchers observed that those who were vitamin D sufficient were 51.5 percent less likely to die from COVID-19 compared to patients who were deficient. [7]

The authors of one scientific review article published in 2020 went so far as to recommend the general population supplement with vitamin D3 for a few weeks to rapidly raise their levels of this beneficial vitamin. [8]

Obviously, you should consult with your doctor before starting any new supplements. I recommend having your vitamin D levels screened and then, depending on your findings, consider taking a high-quality vitamin D on a regular basis while eating an adrenal-supportive diet.

Now that were all caught up with everything weve learned over the last year or so, lets take a look at the projections for the future of the coronavirus. After all, thats really why youre here right?

The Future of the Coronavirus

I have some really great news to share with you regarding the future of the coronavirus: Scientists project that, years from now, COVID-19 will resemble today’s common cold.

 

The future of the coronavirus - Dr. Pingel

 

According to a scientific report released in February 2021, years into the future, COVID-19 will likely follow suit of other coronaviruses and transition from an epidemic to an endemic, meaning infections will primarily exist in children who’ve yet to be exposed. [9]

The scientists reference a model designed to analyze the trajectory of COVID-19 and projected that once the endemic phase takes place, the virus will be no more problematic than the current common cold. How great is that to hear?

The model referenced in the report heavily depended on achieving herd immunity via both exposure and vaccination. But there’s one element the report doesn’t discuss: the variants we’re seeing these days that have many concerned we’re on the verge of a new outbreak.

Why are these variants happening and what should we expect?

When it comes to the future of the coronavirus, we must look to these variants in the light of basic virology. In order for a virus to survive, it must eventually mutate. The same virus can’t survive forever without doing so.

And, typically, when a virus mutates, it’s no longer as strong as the original. Remember, its goal is to live as long as possible from person-to-person and not die with the host. In order to do this, it must become weaker.

When this happens, it can become more contagious, but often isn’t as deadly or as severe in symptom presentations. And, as predicted from trends in other viruses, that’s basically what we’re seeing happen with the new variants of COVID-19.

Now, I must caution you that along with COVID-19 comes much uncertainty, but if we look to the report above and consider it along with basic virology, the future of coronavirus is certainly looking brighter than it did a year ago, isn’t it?

I want to leave you with a sentiment of hope for easier, better, and less stressful days ahead. And while we’re going through the coming months of continued vaccinations and possibly more variants, remember to support your body’s stress response by eating nutritious foods and prioritizing your mental health.

Take some time for yourself and your loved ones, and hold onto hope for better days to come—because they are coming.

Key Takeaways

  • We’ve been dealing with this coronavirus for more than a solid year now. And many are wondering the same thing: What’s the future of the coronavirus?
  • We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19, including steps we can take to mitigate our risk and also what comorbidities increase the likelihood of more severe symptoms and even death.
  • Studies have consistently shown that nutritional therapies could very well be at the heart of the future of the coronavirus and its treatment and prevention, with specific attention paid to vitamin D supplementation.
  • Scientists are now predicting that the future of the coronavirus mirrors that of the common cold, both in symptom severity and also as an endemic.
  • The big takeaway here is that when it comes to the future of the coronavirus, there are many reasons to have hope and stay positive.

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