The year 2022 has begun and we can already imagine what the third year of the pandemic crisis will look like. Few still believe that we will get rid of the Corona virus in a few months. Now let us try to approach the situation from a different perspective and see an interesting scenario appear. Many virologists estimate that due to Omicron, the virus will become endemic. That means we'll have to live with it. But what's new? A disease that occurs regularly in a particular region is classified as endemic. In the case of endemics, the number of infections remains relatively constant over time. As early as May 2020, the World Health Organization estimated that the coronavirus would become an endemic virus. The Delta and Omicron variants have since shown how adaptable the flu-like virus is. This means that we must learn to live with him. The virus will not disappear.
Can we really get over the Corona de-branding and act normally when faced with this virus? Can you imagine a scenario of going to the office while possibly being infected with Corona? But then, you will say, why should we test ourselves, if it doesn't matter anyway….
In addition, there is much discussion about vaccination. What is the role of the vaccine? It has been clearly shown that the vaccine helps, minimizes the impact of the virus on the human body. And science will have its say in the evolution of the vaccine, the number of doses needed, its frequency and its effectiveness.
But let's get back to the new parameters. We have the endemic virus, we have the vaccine. What should we do? The world continues to be vulnerable and people can get sick, even in light forms. Will we go in the direction of individual health passports? In fact, we already started to move in this direction with the COVID certificate. Will more and more data be inserted in the certificate we carry with us? Who will have access to this medical data or who will have the right to check your health certificate? And if something is discovered, what action can be taken? How can we protect ourselves from becoming a bouncing ball when it comes to private health data?
There is a new discussion that's opening up now, and the impact is huge. How will society be restructured with such new rules? What will the free movement of citizens look like in our new society?
Can you imagine how the anti-vaccine movements will react and how - opportunistically - some national political parties will reposition themselves?
We need adapt our strategic thinking to the reality we live in, whether we like it or not. It is imperative that we have some kind of European coordination. The European Union, through its experience in multilateralism, can also take on a leading role in the world. Only through a global approach can we reach the best societal solutions for Europe, but also for other continents, such as Africa for example.
Now is the best time to dig deep into this case through an inclusive approach, with the Member States, but also with the business sector and civil society.
Dan LUCA / Brussels
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