University of Nebraska Medical Center

4 Big COVID Predictions for 2024

AARP It’s been about four years since COVID-19 was first identified, and in that time, much has changed, including the virus itself. We now have pills that can treat it and at-home tests that can identify an infection. We also have vaccines that have been updated to better match versions of the virus that are currently circulating. Despite these achievements, COVID-19 is still with us — and will be for some time, health experts say. Here’s what we can expect as we head into our fifth year with COVID-19.

1. COVID probably won’t settle into a predictable pattern

The cold-weather months are synonymous with respiratory viruses. But unlike flu and RSV — where activity picks up in the fall and winter and peters off in the spring and summer — COVID-19 doesn’t have a set season. Waves hit in the winter, spring, summer and fall.

While COVID could settle into a more predictable pattern in the future, that likely won’t happen in 2024, says Robert Murphy, M.D., an infectious disease expert and executive director of the Robert J. Havey, MD Institute for Global Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“COVID is different,” Murphy says. “It is its own thing.”

If it did turn into a fall and winter virus, says Andrew Pekosz, a professor of microbiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, that could be helpful for a few reasons.

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