Chinese scientists say that they believe the coronavirus will periodically resurface, predicting that it could return much like the seasonal influenza infection.
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A group of Chinese virologists told reporters Monday that they do not believe the coronavirus will be eradicated. According to Bloomberg News, the medical experts said that the disease is likely to remain with humankind for the foreseeable future.
Jin Qi, director of the Institute of Pathogen Biology at the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, said, "This is very likely to be an epidemic that co-exists with humans for a long time, becomes seasonal, and is sustained within human bodies."
Because COVID-19 can infect asymptomatic carriers, the scientists believe that people will continue to spread the virus without experiencing traditional symptoms — or any symptoms at all.
Wang Guiqiang, head of infectious diseases at Peking University First Hospital, added, "The virus is heat-sensitive, but that's when it's exposed to 56 degrees Celsius [132.8 degrees Fahrenheit] for 30 minutes and the weather is never going to get that hot. So, globally, even during the summer, the chance of cases going down significantly is small."
At the time of this writing, researchers at Johns Hopkins University estimate that at least 3,060,152 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed around the world, with 212,056 deaths as a result of the virus.
Earlier this month, Dr. Anthony Fauci said he believed the virus could emerge seasonally. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that he believes the U.S. could see the "beginning of a resurgence" of COVID-19 during the next flu season.
"We will have coronavirus in the fall," he said. "I am convinced of that."
Last week, U.S. officials said Americans should prepare to face two viruses in the fall and winter months — coronavirus and influenza.
During a White House press briefing, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, "Next fall and winter, we're going to have two viruses circulating and we're going to have to distinguish between which is flu and which is the coronavirus."
Redfield also told the Washington Post last week that the winter's coronavirus could be "even more difficult" to face than what the U.S. has been dealing with since February and March.
"There's a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through," he said. "And when I've said this to others, they kind of put their head back — they don't understand what I mean. We're going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time."
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