CORONAVIRUS "will be globally-persistent" until at least the summer of 2021 without a vaccine, according to a leaked Pentagon memo.
The grim forecast said The Defense Department should prepare to deal with a continued virus onslaught because a second wave of COVID-19 was likely later this year.
“All indications suggest we will be operating in a globally-persistent COVID-19 environment in the months ahead," reads the memo, written for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and obtained by Task & Purpose.
“This will likely continue until there is wide-scale immunity, through immunization, and some immunity post-recovery from the virus.”
"We have a long path ahead, with the real possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19.
"Therefore, we must now re-focus our attention on resuming critical missions, increasing levels of activity, and making necessary preparations should a significant resurgence of COVID-19 occur later this year."
Despite the stark prediction, the document also described how to best go about the US military's reopening but a Pentagon spokesperson told the publication it was out of date.
They clarified that the end of year was merely "a goal" timeline, however.
In a "persistent COVID-19 environment," the Pentagon operations assumes: more infections are on the horizon, PPE will be lacking and there won't be a viable vaccine until at least next year.
According to the memo, infections will occur “in clusters” along with the seasonal flu season and testing won't give “100 [percent] assurance of the absence” of the deadly bug.
The draft memo also details the planning framework, which includes increased testing, surveillance, ramped up contract tracing, and using a registry “to track and closely monitor outcomes of those infected with COVID-19.”
The dire projections are in stark contrast with Donald Trump's calls to get the country back to work and that "tremendous" progress was being made.
Disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has previously said that a vaccine could be available as early as next year.
"RI was saying in January and February that it would be a year to 18 months, so January is a year, so it isn't that much from what I had originally said," Fauci said during an NBC "Today Show" interview, saying the goal is "aspirational."
But HHS whistleblower Dr Rick Bright told Congress rolling it out equitably would be an issue for the Trump administration.
Task & Purpose noted Army researchers say a viable vaccine would probably by safe to use in 12-18 months and usable by March 2021 — but other vaccine experts said this isn't enough time.
Dr Amesh Adalja of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security told the New York Times "everything would have to go perfect" to have one ready by January.
“Vaccine development doesn’t always go as predicted,” Adalja said. “There are a lot of hiccups in the production process.
"We’re going faster than we ever have with a vaccine, but we have to be prepared for things to slow down once we get further along.”
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