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When will the pandemic end?

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7 years from now …“?

Are you kidding me? This was my very spontaneous reaction when last week I read an article on Bloomberg about the end of the pandemic. 

Bloomberg has predicted that the pandemic will end in 7 years at the current vaccination rate in the world! (read here the article published on Friday 5 February 2021).

The calculation is based on current data and doesn’t take into account whether the vaccination rate will double or halve in the near future or what other factors -such as variants of the virus more contagious or vaccine resistant- might appear to modify the current trend, but this simple figure (7 years from now) gives an idea on how complex the path leading to the end of the present coronavirus pandemic will be.

In single countries -such for instance the US, Israel or UK- the herd immunity might be probably reached by the end of 2021, but the pandemic is a global matter and can’t end until it is globally under control.

Whenever this happens -whether in a few months or a few years-, the impact of the pandemic on the quality of life, on the economy, on education, on mental health will last longer than the present health treat. 

Education and mental health should now be considered at the same level of attention of the public health and economic recovery if we really want to take care of the safety and wellbeing of those who will live and work in the post-Covid era.

In fact since the beginning of the pandemic symptoms like depression, anxiety, fears have seen a significant increase in young people and children. 

A large study undertaken in English schools during the first lockdown last Spring 2020 revealed very clearly the concerning effects of social restrictions -especially the school closure- on children’s mental health, that means disrupted daily routine, reduced learning opportunities, limited physical activity, widening gap in children living in different areas or in poor social and cultural background, eating disorders, a massive increase of screen time.

While plans start to be drawn about a gradual recovery, it is really vital that children and young people are taken into account as high priority groups to help them find a full balance from the disruption of the pandemic.