The WHO’s special envoy for the global COVID-19 response says that despite the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine, normal life won’t resume for at least two years.
Dr David Nabarro suggested that social distancing and masks were something that would have to continue as a way of “treating this virus with respect.”
“This will mean face masks and physical distancing otherwise the virus does keep on surging. The reality is it will be some months before we can dispense with these precautions,” he said.
When asked when things would return to normal, Nabarro suggested that this wouldn’t occur until the end of 2022 at the earliest.
“I hate making predictions, but let’s just consider it in the big picture. None of us will be safe until the whole world is safe,” remarked Nabarro.
“Big patches of normality are coming up soon, but not everyone will be vaccinated for at least a couple of years. So normal life as we know it is a couple of years away for the world,” he added.
As we have previously highlighted, two years may seem a naive target for a return to normality given that some prominent figures have said the world will never get back to what it was pre-COVID.
“Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal,” wrote World Economic Forum founder Klaus Schwab.
“The short response is: never. Nothing will ever return to the ‘broken’ sense of normalcy that prevailed prior to the crisis because the coronavirus pandemic marks a fundamental inflection point in our global trajectory,” he added.
In addition to Schwab, a senior U.S. Army official said that mask wearing and social distancing will become permanent, while CNN’s international security editor Nick Paton Walsh asserted that the mandatory wearing of masks will become “permanent,” “just part of life,” and that the public would need to “come to terms with it.”