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Health and statistics professionals assess that Brazilians will still have to live with the coronavirus in 2022, but the most widely considered hypothesis by experts consulted by GZH is that the advance of immunization will help to bring down the contamination rates and allow for a scenario of greater normality .

The level of optimism varies due to uncertainties such as population adherence to vaccines, maintenance of minimal preventive measures and the possible advance of new variants such as Delta. One of the possibilities is that covid-19 persists through outbreaks recorded mainly among populations with lower vaccination coverage.

A recent article in a scientific publication of the American Medical Association considers four scenarios for the future of the pandemic: eradication (global reduction of the virus), elimination (regional reduction, with disease-free zones), cohabitation (less transmission and few severe cases) or conflagration (similar to the current scenario).
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In the majority assessment of five specialists in health or pandemic statistics heard by GZH, the greatest probability for Brazil would be cohabitation, with levels of transmission, severe cases and deaths much lower than today.

— The disease will continue to exist, but with very little circulation and very isolated serious cases. It is the scenario that I consider most likely, but we need to maintain our current pace of vaccination – notes the epidemiologist at the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPel) Pedro Hallal.

The researcher in Public Health at the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz) Diego Ricardo Xavier bets, if the vaccination goals are reached this year, in a scenario favorable to localized outbreaks instead of a general lack of control:

— We will still need to combine strategies such as increased testing and screening of cases, or we will have outbreaks, yes, with an increase in cases (in the places of occurrence).
Human behavior

More accurate projections are hampered by the challenge of predicting not the behavior of the virus, but of humans: to a large extent, the scenario in 2022 will be determined by measures that depend on the willingness of Brazilians to continue vaccinating, on the guarantee of sufficient doses on the part of the federal government and the preservation of actions such as distancing and wearing masks until the transmission of the virus is effectively stopped.

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