In this YouTube video min 0:32, Dr. Samir Gupta, says

It typically would last for 12 to 18 months

In How the Pandemic Will End in the ll. The Endgame section:

No matter which strategy is faster, Berkley and others estimate that it will take 12 to 18 months to develop a proven vaccine, and then longer still to make it, ship it, and inject it into people’s arms.


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    Your first link has interview with Dr from Dalhousie University in Halifax and it's disconcerting she thinks droplets only spread from sneezing or coughing. As @GrahamChiu answes in this post: With regard to COVID-19 what happens to droplets after coughing or sneezing? five minutes of talking is equivalent to droplet release of one cough. Apr 1, 2020 at 2:19
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix oh ok. Although the main point with that link was the small speech by Dr. Samir Gupta and it's claim about the duration of this virus Apr 1, 2020 at 2:32
  • If it does last 12-18 months, then I think there's a good possibility that it will keep rippling like waves going back and forth from one place to another all across the world during this time period. Social distancing will likely have to stay in place until there's a viable vaccine.
    – user17774
    Apr 1, 2020 at 14:44
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    @user255577 indeed, I think the same. And I believe that's a good thing, among all this awful situation, because when it's over (or at least controlled) in some country, it's the beginning in another country and so the saved country could help the needed country Apr 1, 2020 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


Under the assumption that infected people become permanently immune and stop transmitting the disease, the virus will eventually just run out of people to infect. Currently the "R" value, which measures the average number of people that an infected person contaminates, is somewhere around 2.5 if people behave normally. R below 1 means there will be less and less infections until there are no more infected.

In this graph of the spread in Germany from February to early May (source) you can observe R > 1 in the left half and R < 1 in the right half:

source: https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

There are 3 ways this can happen:

  • A: If a significant percentage of the population catches the disease and becomes immune, the R factor will drop (if you are infected and half the people you would have infected are immune, you will infect half as many people as you otherwise would have infected, thus R is now cut in half). In some countries this approach is practiced against chickenpox.

  • B: Vaccination can provide herd immunity just like A, but requires a safe vaccine without side effects, that must be manufactured in massive quantities. It's estimated that the development of such a vaccine will take 12-18 months, but this time frame isn't guaranteed.

  • C: Temporary changes to society (contact tracing, quarantines, social distancing, masks), or the environment (heat, humidity) can significantly modify the R factor. If the changes push the R factor below 1 and are sustained until the virus is gone, this will end the pandemic. This is what stopped SARS.

In countries that practice C to some extent, A is not going to happen this year. Because there is no consensus among countries to eradicate the virus by means of C, C isn't going to happen in the foreseeable future. Which leaves B as the most probable outcome at this time. And B is widely reported in the news media to be ready in 12-18 months time.

Things will change when there are significant changes to the projected timeline for B.

  • Thank you for your answer. May 4, 2020 at 21:45
  • Just a slight note, the pic is kinda blurry, mind to mention where is it from? Also would you mind to add the links or references on your answer. This later, is basically due the site policy, one should always provide supporting references May 4, 2020 at 21:47
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    @America Thanks. I addressed the concerns you raised.
    – Peter
    May 4, 2020 at 23:54

The last flu pandemic (Spanish Flu), lasted from January 1918 until December 1920. If my human calculator is correct that is three years. So 1 to 1.5 years seems almost optimistic.

Top US health official says the coronavirus is 10 times ‘more lethal’ than the seasonal flu would be 500 million assuming Spanish Flu was 50 million and Novel Coronavirus is 10 times worse. On the other hand maybe the Spanish Flu was just like the Coronavirus, we simply do not know. That said the experts "guesstimate" of 12 to 18 months might be too pessimistic like you hope or too optimistic compared to the Spanish Flu.

The good news is if every nation could be like China and attempt to catch every single case the virus will end.

The bad news is more than 10% of infections in Alberta (where I live) are healthcare workers who spread it at home and when they go shopping. In the old days they lived in hospital residence. In efforts to make things better we are unwittingly making them worse.

China on the other hand took seven idled cruise ships and moored them for healthcare workers to live in comfort. It's not just Alberta that has healthcare transmission, 13.6% of Spain's infected are healthcare professionals and 51 doctors have died in Italy.

The moral of the story is if you stop the spread you stop the virus. If you don't stop the spread you accelerate the virus.

Finally consider the current strategy is to slow the spread, not to test for the spread. (I can provide sources if desired). This means it could lengthen the disease duration until herd immunity, unless a miracle wipes it out.

April 3, 2020 Update

Today Ontario said the Pandemic would last 2 years but praised themselves for reducing 5,000 deaths to 1,600 deaths for the month of April.. But of course it was all fiction because it was based on "what ifs".

Personally I hope we can wrap things up with an action plan in 30 days but barring no plan I suspect 3 years and not 2 years like Ontario forecasts or 1 to 1.5 years like OP forecasts.

Sadly it appears no one is in charge.

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    I don't know what experts said it's 10 times worse, and I'm not sure what they even meant by "worse," but I am sure they didn't mean it will persist 10 times as long. Your entire second paragraph is fiction until you provide credible supporting references. So is your third paragraph.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 1, 2020 at 0:38
  • Thank you for your answer Apr 1, 2020 at 0:44
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    You need to provide references supporting your notion that the pandemic will persist for 30 years, not simply that someone called it "worse." A 30-year pandemic is unheard of in the modern world. And you also need to provide supporting references that catching every single case (an impossibility, even in China) will end the virus.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 1, 2020 at 1:00
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    @WinEunuuchs2Unix No, it's not a worst case scenario, it's a non-credible scenario. Your answer is full of speculation and false information. Fix it or deletion is possible.
    – Carey Gregory
    Apr 1, 2020 at 1:04
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    @WinEunuuchs2Unix I'm not seeing a problem with your answer. Apr 1, 2020 at 1:30

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