With the delta variant of Covid-19 surging in many countries - e.g., over 100,000 new cases per day foreseen in the UK in the next few days, and many other countries following suit - we may feel depressed at the thought that this pandemic is going to stay with us for a lot longer than some originally foresaw.
In truth, if you could sort out your sources well, you would have predicted this a long time ago: epidemiologists had in fact foreseen that there would continue to be waves of contagions, although at some point mitigated by the vaccination campaigns. However, so much misinformation and falsehood on the topic has been since dumped on all media, and in particular on the internet, that it is easy to pick up wrong information.

The question, for the near future, is how much we manage to distribute vaccinations and get at least close to herd immunity, while the virus mutates and "learns" to overcome the immunization barrier that Pfizer, Moderna, Astra-Zeneca, Johnson and Johnson, and the other vaccines have created. And vaccinating the rich countries will not solve the problem: of course, if the virus continues to circulate in less developed countries it will eventually come back and hit. This, in some measure, is already happening, in fact.

In a worst-case scenarion which is by no means very unlikely, we may eventually have to learn to live with an endemic infection, when social distancing measures, indoor masks, and a number of other mitigating rules will become permanent. If we are luckier, in one year or two this nightmare could be over. But in both cases, I see a reason why all this may not be 100% bad for humanity.

Viruses have always be around, but it is only in the past fifty years or so that we have empowered them with a new, extremely effective mean of transmission: international travel. So the scale of the potential damage they can inflict on humanity, through higher spreading speed, has increased quite considerably. On the other hand, if we learn how to quickly react and cope with new epidemics, by being equipped not only with hardware - masks, vaccine research and production/distribution infrastructure, equipped hospital sections - but even more importantly, with the right mindset and education, we may be able to limit our losses.

What I am trying to say is that Covid-19 may one day be seen by historians as a global immunization shot, which contained the damage of a much deadlier pandemic which awaits us in the future. 

To get the most out of the Covid-19 lesson it is important to fight with all our means the misinformation agenda of those who fuel the anti-vaccination propaganda. I believe the right steps have been taken by governments such as the French one, where Macron has instituted rules that strongly limit the freedom of those who decide to not vaccinate. It is effective and morally sound: if you are a threat to others, you cannot go to a Cinema, travel, dine in a restaurant, unless you show proof that you are not infectious. I sincerely hope other countries will soon follow up with similar measures. If we manage to do so, we will be better prepared to counter future viruses. And they _will_ happen.


I feel the need to specify that I am a physicist, not an epidemiologist: thus the above are not the opinions of an expert. Feel free to counter them in the comments thread below, but keep the discussion fact-based and avoid propaganda or you will be censored.