When will the COVID-19 pandemic end?

  • By Sarun Charumilind, Matt Craven, Jessica Lamb, Adam Sabow, Shubham Singhal, and Matt Wilson, McKinsey & Company

The Omicron variant is spreading rapidly. What does it hold in store? Our analysis offers some scenarios to understand potential outcomes. We also look at the effects of boosters, the potential waning of vaccine efficacy, and new oral therapeutics.

On November 26, 2021, WHO reached deeper into the Greek alphabet to declare Omicron a new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern.1 The world’s reaction has been an unpleasant mixture of dread, fatigue, and déjà vu. Almost two years into a pandemic that has claimed more than five million lives and affected billions more, people everywhere are finding it hard to summon the energy for another chapter in the story.2

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