Story at a glance
- Ex-WHO oncologist Dr. Karol Sikora suggests that the virus could dissipate naturally, citing other pandemics.
- He also noted that communities that are reopening are fairing "quite nicely on the whole."
A former official at the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke on Fox News to Laura Ingraham offering an alternative scenario to the conclusion of the pandemic: the virus could “peter out” on its own.
Karol Sikora, an oncologist and former chief of the WHO’s Cancer Program, told Ingraham that there are three factors that “end a pandemic:” human behavior and reaction, the virus itself and how it changes, and a “fear factor” regarding “how we go into autumn and see another wave.”
There is a real chance that the virus will burn out naturally before any vaccine is developed.— Professor Karol Sikora (@ProfKarolSikora) May 16, 2020
We are seeing a roughly similar pattern everywhere - I suspect we have more immunity than estimated.
We need to keep slowing the virus, but it could be petering out by itself.
Sikora also stated that communities emerging from lockdowns are progressing well.
“As you look at all the data all around the world where people have come out of lockdown, things are actually going along quite nicely on the whole,” he said on air.
This theory is contradictory to those of other experts; the current WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus cautioned against nations reopening before the virus spread has been sufficiently quelled among its population, and also encouraged increased early testing and detection.
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“We want to re-emphasize that easing restrictions is not the end of the epidemic in any country. Ending the epidemic will require a sustained effort on the part of individuals, communities and governments to continue suppressing and controlling the virus,” Tedros said in a video conference.
Sikora also mentioned that historically, humans’ immune mechanisms and antibody interaction have worked to fight viruses.
"Every pandemic, from the plagues in Venice, from the plague in Egypt way back in the times of Christ, we've seen them just peter out and we don't understand this petering out. Despite the very sophisticated computer mathematical models we've seen, we just don't know what is going to happen," he said.
Again, other public health experts disagree.
Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, directly contradicted Sikora’s prediction that the coronavirus will simply go away.
“The degree of efficiency of transmissibility of this is really unprecedented,” Fauci told Ingraham on April 16, adding that “Coronaviruses don’t just disappear.”
Following Sikora’s comments that previously locked-down communities are recovering “quite nicely,” U.S. states that have recently reopened, including Texas, Arizona, and North Carolina, have seen upticks in cases, while other states, like Georgia and Florida register a flat case count — a trend that is facing scrutiny after multiple errors in data reporting.
Other states, however, have proven to perform fairly well. ProPublica state data shows that some of the states that reopened, such as Colorado, Iowa, and Massachusetts are declining, with other either plateauing or increasing.
Internationally, Sweden was one of the few countries to not enforce a mandatory stay-at-home order in an attempt to cultivate herd immunity. As of yesterday, it saw the highest number of coronavirus deaths per capita out of every European country.
Other countries that were previously embattled with the virus, like Italy and Spain, have begun reopening public and economic sectors of society as the infection rates slows.
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