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Is COVID-19 winding down? Scientists say no

23 Comments
By LAURA UNGAR

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But down the road, he said it's likely a new variant distinct from Omicron will pop up.

The recent wave of infections and re-infections, he said, “gives the virus more chances to spread and mutate and new variants to emerge.”

this is what worries me. many people in the developing world are not vaccinated so the possibility of a new variant is still very high, and when it starts to get cold, that's when you really have to watch out. The thing is, we don't know what the next variant will look like, and how effective or not vaccines will be against it.

-7 ( +8 / -15 )

Either of which cause government restrictions or mandates anymore. That is where Covid should be by now.

The huge difference is the amount of damage to the public health between the diseases, if covid causes at least as much hospitalizations and deaths while under measures to prevent transmission and with widespread immunity, obviously this will not remain the same once those measures are lifted.

Eventually covid will have a risk comparable with the background levels observed for other respiratory infections, but at the moment this is not yet true. Long term problems appear to be much more frequent, and hidden risks from getting covid are still being discovered.

Additionally, other viral respiratory infections have had much more time infecting the human population and this brings certain stability (the variants are already optimized for transmission by selection) but covid has had only 2 years, this means that the risk of a new variant that causes a much higher amount of problems is still there, so caution is a perfectly logical response. If people wait to react until a possible new variant is already present around the world there is very little that can be done then.

-13 ( +6 / -19 )

White House COVID-19 coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha said COVID-19 will likely be with us for the rest of our lives.

If Covid -19 is allowed to spread indefinitely our life spans will take a huge drop. Scientist in the UK have already discovered that Covid-19 plays a major role in damaging/destroying brain tissue that human beings can never get back, actually causing the brain to lose grey matter and size aging the brain by up to 10 years.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The spike protein vaccination leads to more vaccine dodging variants because so many people have the same level of immunity. They share the same immune response. The virus can easily adapt to a homogeneous landscape. Had natural immunity been given more credence, the variety of immune responses would have rendered the virus unable to so quickly and precisely adapt more virulent strains. Oh well. This will go down in history as one of the worst public health disasters ever. Don't forget to get your booster!

1 ( +11 / -10 )

The spike protein vaccination leads to more vaccine dodging variants because so many people have the same level of immunity. 

No it does not, which should be obvious from the fact that until now the variants that changed how the pandemic behaved (like delta or omicron) appeared in populations with low levels of vaccination.

The virus can easily adapt to a homogeneous landscape.

Being unvaccinated is also a homogeneous landscape, except that it is much more permissive for variant selection and spreading precisely because the infection has to be fought from zero. Vaccines reduce this risk because the immunity against other variants still is partially neutralizing so the infection is less likely to complicate, persist for longer time or be transmitted.

Had natural immunity been given more credence, the variety of immune responses would have rendered the virus unable to so quickly and precisely adapt more virulent strains.

Natural immunity is what caused delta and omicron to appear, completely the opposite of what you mistakenly think would happen.

Oh well. This will go down in history as one of the worst public health disasters ever

Hardly so, antivaxxers have not that much of an impact so they have failed to spoil the huge efficacy of the efforts made to control the pandemic, including the vaccines.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

Unfortunately the data doesn't support this claim. Being unvaccinated with previous infection does provide a more robust and broad immune response compared to a specific spike protein focused response from the vaccine. It's not that the vaccine is completely ineffective, it's that natural immunity is more effective across a broader range of variants. Also the reduction in efficacy happens faster in vaccinated than unvaccinated with prior infection. Hence the need for boosters.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

It's not my solution. It's the human immune system. Your solution of requiring everyone to live in a fireproof house is the one that doesn't make sense.

Natural immunity provides the type of protection that limits the viruses ability to bind to ACE receptors in the first place. Otherwise why is there such an enormous reinfection rate in populations with higher vaccination?

In this specific case of coronaviruses, natural immunity by far the better protection. Elderly and immunocompromised should have ready access to these treatments. Young and or otherwise healthy would do much better with naturally acquired immunity in the long run.

5 ( +12 / -7 )

It's not my solution. It's the human immune system. Your solution of requiring everyone to live in a fireproof house is the one that doesn't make sense.

The human immune system also works with the vaccines, and again getting the immunity that will decrease the risk of variants without running the full risks is what makes it a much better solution. In the analogy it would be like replacing the flammable things with others that are fire resistant, you reduce the risk without increasing it first as you mistakenly suggest.

Natural immunity provides the type of protection that limits the viruses ability to bind to ACE receptors in the first place.

So the vaccines, that is the whole point of making antibody neutralization assays using cells expressing this receptor.

Otherwise why is there such an enormous reinfection rate in populations with higher vaccination?

Reinfections being "enormous" means you accept the first infection was unable to prevent the second one, there is no other way to have a re-infection. And this is well known, immunity against coronaviruses decreases with time and becomes less effective, since infection is the most difficult thing to prevent that is what is presented, but replication for long time and complications (which indicate a higher risk of variants being produced and transmitted) are a much easier thing to prevent, which is done without problems with the vacines.

In this specific case of coronaviruses, natural immunity by far the better protection

That is still completely false, running the full risk completely defeat the purpose of protecting against those risks. When the solution you propose by definition is more risky that means it is not a solution, it is just pretending the problem is not important.

Young and or otherwise healthy would do much better with naturally acquired immunity in the long run.

All the data until now demonstrate a reduction of risk thanks to the vaccines even on the young and healthy, that means that by definition it is a much better way to get immunity.

-12 ( +7 / -19 )

Some scientists say something, and they are said to represent "scientists", as if it was a homogeneous group that represented truth and knowledge.

Some scientists will never give up on pushing vaccines as the only or main approach that must be followed by everyone, while completely ignoring natural immunity.

Dr. Ashish Jha recently said: "The good news is you can get both your flu shot and COVID shot at the same time. It’s actually a good idea. I really believe this is why God gave us two arms — one for the flu shot and the other one for the COVID shot."

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Your argument that risking getting infected is so dangerous that you should get a vaccine that doesn't offer protection from infection is so wildly nonsensical. The symptoms for the majority of covid cases are very similar to the most common side effects of the vaccine anyway.

Of course less flammable things will limit the spread of a fire if exposed to open flame. But in the case of the immune system, it's as if you can train something to be fire retardant once it's exposed to a flame. Rather than the government or other authorities requiring you replace everything with a product that is specifically designed to resist a certain type of fire.

Regardless of the analogy, we have high vaccination rates currently, high case numbers, high reinfection rates, and rapid mutations. So at what point was the the vaccine supposed to start working to reduce those metrics? 5th booster? 6th? Or should it be encouraged that if you've been exposed to the virus and recovered that maybe you can move on knowing you are more protected than before?

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Some scientists say something, and they are said to represent "scientists", as if it was a homogeneous group that represented truth and knowledge.

Which institution of science can you refer that says the pandemic is now over? because if none share what you want to believe that still means the consensus is there even if you don't want to accept it.

Some scientists will never give up on pushing vaccines as the only or main approach that must be followed by everyone, while completely ignoring natural immunity.

Strawman, what scientists defend is that vaccines are the BETTER approach that reduces the risk for everybody for whom vaccines are indicated, better than natural immunity as proved scientifically. If you can't disprove them that means they are still right.

Getting safe and effective vaccines is a good idea, that means you can reduce the risks from infectious diseases, the more vaccines that are recommended for you means the less risk from diseases you will get.

-11 ( +7 / -18 )

Unfortunately that's not a truthful statement. It's too general and doesn't address the nuanced issue at hand specifically around the covid-19 pandemic and reactions of the health authorities. The data, even from the beginning, was always showing covid infections in the majority of people was rather low risk. The widespread use of a new type of mRNA treatment does have real risks, many of which are still largely unknown but actively speculated and tested. To make a general statement to include vaccines at large completely misses the point of what is being discussed and censored in the scientific communities around the world. Of which this comment section is not.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

My doctor also told me, after I took already 2 shots, that I should not take the third one.

He said I should better let my natural immun system works.

But me, as an idiot, took the third shot, and the side effects of taking the 3rd shot lasted as long as a Covid infection, and to deal with these side effects seemed to be much tougher than to deal with a Covid infection itself.

But the next shot, like this new one which was tested in just 8 mice,...no thank you.

7 ( +13 / -6 )

Your argument that risking getting infected is so dangerous that you should get a vaccine that doesn't offer protection from infection is so wildly nonsensical.

Making up a nonsensical argument misrepreseniing the real one and then calling it nonsensical only shows that you understand the real argument can't be demonstrated as mistaken.

Vaccines reduce the risk that come after infection, that includes the appearance of variants. Rates of infection, complication, hospitalization, transmission and death are lower for vaccinated people, all those factors increase the risk of variants appearing, so if being vaccinated reduce every factor that means vaccinated people are a much less likely source for any variant.

Which is exactly what has happened. I know you want ot ignore that delta and omicron appeared in unvaccinated populations, but that is a very clear fact that proves without any doubt that lack of vaccination is much more risky in this aspect. That alone is enough to disprove what you defend, which is why you avoid even recognizing it.

But in the case of the immune system, it's as if you can train something to be fire retardant once it's exposed to a flame.

Which is still a much more risky option when comparing it to "train" something to be fire retardant without exposing anything to any flame. Vaccinating decreases the risk without having to increase it first as you mistakenly suggest would be best. It is clearly not.

Regardless of the analogy, we have high vaccination rates currently, high case numbers, high reinfection rates, and rapid mutations.

Which is a completely useless argument to prove the case numbers, reinfections and mutations would not be higher without the vaccines. The argument is that vaccines help reducing the risk importantly, not (as you want ot misrepresent) that they eliminated it completely.

If a booster reduces the risk that still means not taking it is the more risky option. You are not choosing between taking a booster or be protected the same, you can only choose between better or worse protection.

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

My doctor also told me, after I took already 2 shots, that I should not take the third one.

He said I should better let my natural immun system works.

I trule hope you are misremembering what your doctor said, because it is mistaken. Vaccines do not depend on any artificial immune system. They completely depend on your natural immune system working as it should.

and to deal with these side effects seemed to be much tougher than to deal with a Covid infection itself

The data used by the scientist to recommend boosters show that the infection is worse than the problems caused by the vaccine. It is easy to ignore this when you have been already protected from the worst risks from infection, but you don't know what would have happened if you got infected without that booster.

You are of course completely free to reject any booster for whatever reason you may want to use. But what you can't do is to say this booster is not better than risking the infection. Because that can be demonstrated scientifically.

-10 ( +7 / -17 )

@jeffb

I admire your confidence, but you are wrong.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

We stopped after the first two vaccines.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

If Covid -19 is allowed to spread indefinitely our life spans will take a huge drop. 

Life spans in the U.S. already have thanks to COVID.

https://www.npr.org/2022/08/31/1120355473/life-expectancy-drops-in-the-u-s-for-the-second-year-in-a-row

The same thing is occurring in Okinawa where life expectancy was higher than most of the world. We are currently losing more elderly to the Omicron variant than we did with the Delta variant.

"It has been suggested that infection with the Omicron variant presents a lower risk of hospitalization or aggravation than the Delta variant. However, analyses to date show that the fatality due to infection with the Omicron variant is higher than that due to seasonal influenza. It is also suggested that the incidence of pneumonia is higher than that of seasonal influenza, but given the limited data, it needs to be investigated by various analyses. The death toll from the previous outbreak compared to last summer's outbreak had a higher proportion of people aged 80 and over."

https://www.niid.go.jp/niid/en/2019-ncov-e.html

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

@justasking, which point?

-1 ( +5 / -6 )

@jeffb

All of it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

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