What can be the possible outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic

With most of the world's population in a state of lockdown and the COVID-19 relentlessly spreading, the question of its endgame lingers on. Experts and global leaders have their tasks cut out, and so do we all.

What can be the possible outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic

A global crisis such as the one we are facing now hasn't been witnessed in our lifetime, with most veterans comparing it to a World War II situation. It has gripped everyone alike and in millennial terms has been trending for well over a month now. What's ominous is experts saying that the worst is yet to come.

So how long exactly will this last, and how many people are actually going to be affected in the end and will we ever find a cure and what if it happens again?

In spite of models predicting the extent of the spread and historic epidemic data along with current country statistics showing us worst-case scenarios in the millions, there's no correct answer as yet to the above questions. There are only calculative assumptions from experts in the field of medicine and epidemiology. But broadly there are four major possible outcomes to our current work from home situation.

The fact is that the COVID-19 is a virus that takes time to show its symptoms (up to 14 days) and viruses can only be cured with a vaccine. Even then, it could mutate, leaving whatever cure we find redundant.

We win the war

All countries miraculously either together or on their own manage to curtain the spread through whatever strategy their governments employ and we are back to frequenting crowded clubs and counting our miles. This seems unlikely though given how stealthy COVID-19 is. Add to that the uncoordinated plans of an egoistic global leader with nationalist interests at play, the Coronavirus is likely to prevail. 

The quick but costly death

There's a chance the virus could continue to affect the whole world, reach its peak, taking the lives of tens of thousands or even millions. The more immune and less exposed will survive and the world will continue on its way, albeit with a heavy heart. This has happened in the past with other viruses. The terrible cost of so many deaths brings us to the more widely accepted solution - the vaccine

The Vaccine

Rumours of vaccines being already developed but hidden started as soon as the western world was affected. However, for a virus of its kind, the vaccination will take 12-18 months to research, develop, test on animals and humans and get to mass production. After that, it needs to be distributed worldwide and shot into the arms of humans everywhere. The logistics of it could take us well in 2022 and beyond. Even though this option seems tedious and long, it is inevitable and the most likely outcome. What remains to be seen is how the world deals with it till then. Will social distancing become the new normal? Will we all start developing an immunity to it? Or will it just completely disappear one day?

A continuous Corona cycle

Just as China has awakened from its brutal lockdown and is reopening the gates to Wuhan and other cities, it still has active cases albeit decreasing day by day. World over people are apprehensive of its spread once flocks of people come in contact with an infected person again. While some may develop an immunity to it, others might still be affected. This could lead to another cycle of a lockdown, a period of social distancing and then once cases start reducing normalcy being restored.

Such a situation though is unlikely, given medical advancements and human immunity. In the off chance that this does happen, the intensity of the spread might not be akin to a pandemic.

Unfortunately, even these scenarios could play out in comical twists and in a variety of combinations. Till then, it's each one for oneself with a distance to maintain and patience as our biggest virtue.