If you thought that 2021 couldn’t possibly be worse than 2020, think again. The health crisis, global lockdowns, freedoms taken away, massive unemployment and small businesses vanishing – shockingly, an even bigger wave of calamity could envelop the planet this year.

This isn’t just guesswork. It’s a real possibility put forward by none other than the head of the World Health Organization (WHO)’s emergencies program, Dr. Mike Ryan, along with other WHO representatives.

The WHO is the organization that’s responsible for directing and coordinating the international health system within the free world. And, it’s not every day that a major figurehead at this organization sounds the alarm bell on an imminent health crisis.

Calling the pandemic a “wake-up call,” Dr. Ryan explained that “the existence of a vaccine, even at high efficacy, is no guarantee of eliminating or eradicating an infectious disease. That is a very high bar for us to be able to get over.” Moreover, even though the coronavirus pandemic has been very severe, it is “not necessarily the big one,” he warns.

Suggesting that Covid-19 isn’t even “the big one” begs the question of what could possibly be worse than this. Just in the United States alone, the number of Covid-related deaths has already surpassed 350,000.

Courtesy: Reuters

Since the symptoms of Covid-19 sometimes don’t appear until days or even weeks after the virus has been contracted, it’s entirely possible that the infection and fatality toll could worsen as people are now returning from holiday and New Year’s gatherings and celebrations.

Dr. Ryan isn’t the only official at the WHO to suggest that the current scenario is likely to go from bad to worse. Also offering a dire warning is Professor David Heymann, who serves as the chair of the strategic and technical advisory group for infectious hazards as well as an epidemiologist with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Even as vaccines begin to be rolled out in the U.S. and U.K., the destiny of the virus is to become endemic, according to Dr. Heymann. “The world has hoped for herd immunity, that somehow transmission would be decreased if enough persons were immune,” he explained.

Without saying it directly, it’s crystal clear that Dr. Heymann is pessimistic about the future trajectory of the health crisis. “It appears the destiny of SARS-CoV-2 [Covid-19] is to become endemic, as have four other human coronaviruses, and that it will continue to mutate as it reproduces in human cells, especially in areas of more intense admission,” Dr. Heymann added.

You read that correctly: he’s predicting that there will be four more human coronaviruses. So if you were counting on the current roll-out of vaccines to keep you and your family 100% safe, don’t count on it.

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    And it appears that Dr. Heymann’s prediction is already coming true, as a fast-spreading viral strain has been discovered in the United Kingdom. Known as the B.1.1.7 strain of SARS-CoV-2, this version of the virus has 23 mutations, eight of which are in the spike protein which the virus uses to bind to and enter human cells.

    Courtesy: ourworldindata.org

    Noting that “We live in an increasingly complex global society. These threats will continue,” Dr. Heymann seems to suggest that a much greater catastrophe is inevitable, and that humankind’s best efforts will be unable to contain the contagion.

    WHO chief scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan further added to the dour tone. “I don’t believe we have the evidence on any of the vaccines to be confident that it’s going to prevent people from actually getting the infection and therefore being able to pass it on,” commented Dr. Swaminathan.

    The full WHO presentation is here if you’d like to view it. But don’t expect to find much in the way of comfort or assurance that things are going to get better in 2021. Their vocal tone might be calm, but what they’re actually saying should keep you on high alert for at least the next year, if not longer.

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