What’s next in the evolution of COVID-19 is increasingly difficult to predict

As variants of SARS-CoV-2 continue to emerge and spread among both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, epidemiologists are finding it increasingly difficult to predict how the virus might evolve and continue to spread, according to a September 15, 2021, Speigel International article.

“This virus keeps surprising us,” said Mary Bushman, a postdoctoral research fellow in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics (CCDD). “No one expected such large jumps in contagiousness.”

William Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology and a faculty member in the CCDD, cautioned that while many people believe the virus will become less dangerous as it continues to evolve, it’s not a guarantee.

“There’s a widespread public perception that viruses become less dangerous over time because they evolve to avoid harming the hosts they rely on for transmission,” he said, noting that the truth is the virus could become more or less dangerous.

Read the Speigel International article: The Changing Virus