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Calling COVID-19 'a 'forever virus' is a little extreme right now:' Harvard professor

Anjalee Khemlani
·Senior Reporter
·2-min read

Though many experts anticipate coronavirus spread will be a seasonal occurrence much like the flu, Dr. Ali Raja — emergency physician, Harvard University professor and co-founder of Get Us PPE — says it's too soon to know for sure.

"I think calling it a 'forever virus' is a little extreme right now, just because we don't know," he said.

Raja told Yahoo Finance that because scientists are sill learning about the coronavirus, it's hard to make definitive comments about its lifespan, but that people will likely need booster shots for at least a couple of years.

"Once you say forever to a population that is so bent on trying to get this thing under control, it can be so demoralizing," Raja said.

The U.S. hit a milestone Monday with more than 50% of the adult population receiving at least their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, some states are still seeing significant case increases, with variants causing faster transmission, even amid increased vaccinations. 

Monday also marked the first day that the Biden administration directed states to open vaccinations to all U.S. adults. 

Some experts fear that people's willingness to get vaccinated could wane — an issue Raja said will likely need to be tackled over the next few years. 

"That's where I worry, because once it becomes something that has to be done every six months or every year, we're going to lose patients' willingness to do it," he said.

"For years, doctors have been talking to their patients about the importance of getting a flu shot, and this is going to turn into the same sort of discussion," Raja added.

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