The reality is that we are still in the first half of this pandemic. Many firms are exploring opportunities to reopen and build resilience to future crises, and this is certainly the right time to take stock and plan. But it is equally important to remember that infection rates will continue to rise and fall in the coming months, and that more hurdles remain before any organization can fully return to (a new) normal.
A few thoughts on Covid-19 and its spread, by Mehul Mehta, MD, ASG Chief Medical Officer, based on recent scientific and medical research:
- Any form of herd immunity is still far away, and a significant percentage of the global population remains susceptible to infection. Although many vaccines are in phase III clinical trials, they likely will not be ready until early 2021.
- Our understanding of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes Covid-19) and ability to manage Covid19 is significantly better today than it was when the pandemic started. The ability to better manage more advanced cases may account for the reduced mortality in many parts of the world.
- The dominant strain of the virus spreading many western countries today has mutated in a way that has made it even more efficient in infecting human cells.
- Researchers have confirmed that the primary mode of transmission for SARS-CoV-2 is airborne, via droplets or micro aerosolization. This research also confirms that outdoor spaces have an 18-20x lower risk of infection than indoor spaces.
- While a majority of infected individuals do not infect others, a minority of those infected infect the majority of the rest. These “super spreaders” have been the source of most outbreaks and spikes that have been observed globally.
- New tests for diagnosing Covid-19 that are fast, accurate, cost-effective, and available on demand are being developed. Once these are widely available, coupled with robust contact tracing, we should see a dramatic shift in the pandemic’s impact on societies and businesses.