2022 too short, too far: How the pandemic progressed

Down To Earth recaps the primary environment, health and developmental news from 2022

By DTE Staff
Published: Monday 19 December 2022
2022 too short, too far: How the pandemic progressed

The year 2022 began by crashing all hopes of the two-year COVID-19 pandemic coming to an end. A new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron, started another wave of COVID-19 globally.

As we enter 2023, there is hope of the pandemic turning endemic, thus marking the widest public health emergency’s end. Here is a chronology of the pandemic’s run this year through a selection of Down To Earth’s articles:

The COVID-19 pandemic looks set to become endemic as it enters its fourth year. In becoming endemic, it could increase the disease burden of the world. 

Read more: COVID-19 will now be an endemic pandemic

That increase in the disease burden will primarily be because of long COVID-19. 

Read more: Long COVID: Here’s what we can learn from chronic sequelae of other infectious diseases

China, where the novel coronavirus originated, tread a COVID-19 path different from the rest of the world. The ruling Chinese Communist Party adopted a policy of ‘zero-tolerance’, with entire cities, provinces and regions on lockdown at the same time. This made the population immuno-compromised. With the result that even the slightest relaxing of norms resulted in new strains of the coronavirus. 

Read more: New ‘highly infectious’ Omicron strains scare China

Through 2022, new variants and sub-variants of SARS-CoV-2 kept popping up. 

Read more: WHO begins monitoring two new variants of COVID-19 named BA.4 and BA.5

Measures taken around the world to curb COVID-19 had another positive effect: They curbed the circulation of influenza.

Read more: COVID-19 has suppressed influenza for now, but it will return with greater severity: Study

Throughout 2022, debate raged on as to whether the pandmic had actually ended and ‘normalcy’ had returned.

Read more: Who gets to decide when the pandemic is over?

Shahid Jameel, former head of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, spoke to DTE about how a virus mutates, the trajectory of COVID-19 and concerns regarding re-infection.

Read more: SARS-CoV-2 changes classic feature of virus becoming endemic: Shahid Jameel

A Thrissur resident studying medicine at Wuhan University, who became the first case of COVID-19 in India, recounted her story to DTE.

Read more: Two years on: India’s index COVID-19 patient describes her ordeal

In January this year, migrant workers returning to Jharkhand for the Christmas and year-end holidays caused cases of the novel coronavirus disease to spike, leading to a third wave.

Read more: COVID-19 third wave: Returning workers may have led to Jharkhand spike

In January, it was predicted that nearly 60 per cent of the global population was expected to be infected by the omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by March.

Read more: Nearly 60% of global population to be infected with omicron by March: IHME

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