Experts weigh in on whether or not the coronavirus will go away during the summer, and they advise against easing off on social distancing.
1. New variants
The initial virus caused huge waves of COVID in the UK and around the world, followed by the Alpha, Delta, and Omicron strains.
New variants aren't always a bad thing, and we shouldn't be alarmed by every new mutation. It's vital that we continue to have a strong barrier of immunity in place and be up to date with the vaccines, as any strain can turn deadly overnight.
2. Drug resistance
Drugs that kill the virus are now being used to keep patients out of hospitals.
But there is a danger that if we use them badly, the virus will evolve to render the drugs ineffective.
This means that, if a new strain emerges that significantly weakens our defences, we'll have to rely on antivirals to buy us some time until a new vaccine is developed and administered.
One solution is using several antivirals in combination, which greatly reduces the risk of the virus becoming resistant.
3. Long COVID
Not everyone heals quickly from infection, and some people acquire 'long Covid.'
For some people, coronavirus (COVID-19) can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after the infection has gone. This is sometimes called post-COVID-19 syndrome or 'long COVID.'
Long COVID symptoms include chest pain, fatigue or breathlessness over a long period of time. In such a situation, we must diagnose the long-COVID cases in order to make understand them better and help patients recover sooner.