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Full Version: Covid will always be an epidemic virus — not an endemic one, scientist warns
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  • Last week, the WHO warned that the next Covid variant will be even more contagious than omicron.
  • According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an epidemic occurs when the number of cases of a disease increases, often suddenly, above what is usually expected.
  • The WHO declares a disease a pandemic when its growth is exponential and it is spreading globally.
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Covid-19 will never become an endemic illness and will always behave like an epidemic virus, an expert in biosecurity has warned.

Raina MacIntyre, a professor of global biosecurity at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, told CNBC that although endemic disease can occur in very large numbers, the number of cases does not change rapidly as seen with the coronavirus.

“If case numbers do change [with an endemic disease], it is slowly, typically over years,” she said via email. “Epidemic diseases, on the other hand, rise rapidly over periods of days to weeks.”

Scientists use a mathematical equation, the so-called R naught (or R0), to assess how quickly a disease is spreading. The R0 indicates how many people will catch a disease from an infected person, with experts at Imperial College London estimating omicron’s could be higher than 3

If a disease’s R0 is greater than 1, growth is exponential, meaning the virus is becoming more prevalent and the conditions for an epidemic are present, MacIntyre said.

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