PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine says we’ll probably be dealing with COVID-19 for the next two years.
Dr. Levine talked to the Carnegie Science Center as part of its “Women In STEM Speaker Series” on Facebook Wednesday.
She says COVID-19 is the biggest global pandemic since 1918, and it’s not going away any time soon.
“No one has seen this before. No one has immunity from this virus,” she says.
“Hopefully there’s going to be a vaccine,” she went on to say. “If it’s in 2020, that’s a miracle — most likely in 2021. But it doesn’t just get distributed by itself.”
Between figuring out how to produce and distribute the vaccine not just in Pennsylvania, but nationally and internationally, when it comes to COVID-19, “we’re going to be hearing about it and dealing with it for several years to come.”
There are a number of characteristics that allowed COVID-19 to spread globally, Dr. Levine says.
She says the novel coronavirus is very contagious and it’s spread from respiratory droplets, where as a virus like Ebola is spread through contact with bodily fluids.
The death rate is around 1 percent — compared to Ebola’s death rate, which according to the WHO is around 50 percent — which means most people live and are still contagious. On top of that, it’s spread by people who have little or no symptoms.
Dr. Levine says she thinks the coronavirus pandemic will change people’s opinions of public health — which she says has been underfunded — for the better.