John Ioannidis, a Professor of Medicine, of Epidemiology and Population Health and by courtesy, of Statistics and of Biomedical Data Science at Stanford University, lauded for championing evidence-based medicine, has been harshly criticized over the past two years.
Perhaps the greatest reason Ioannidis has come under fire is for questioning the orthodoxy of strict lockdowns, divisive COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and other restrictive measures to manage the pandemic.
Ioannidis is sure to court more controversy with a new commentary published to the European Journal of Clinicial Investigation in which he argues that it’s time to declare the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This does not mean that the problem is inappropriately minimized or forgotten, but that our communities move on with life,” he writes. “Pandemic preparedness should be carefully thought and pre-organized, but should not disrupt life.”
While Ioannidis recognizes that there are no quantitative definitions for the end of a pandemic like COVID-19, he contends that the amount of immunity now present worldwide exceeds the threshold needed to declare SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, endemic—constantly present but not a public health emergency.
“By end 2021, probably 73-81% of the global population had been vaccinated, infected or both,” Ioannidis estimates. Pockets of low immunity may persist, causing regional outbreaks, but we will likely never see COVID-19 again trigger a global emergency.