Long-term qualitative scenarios and considerations of their implications for preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU/EEA

Guidance
Cite:

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. Long-term qualitative scenarios and considerations of their implications for preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the EU/EEA. August 2022. ECDC: Stockholm; 2022.

There are a wide range of potential trajectories for the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the coming months and years. This document sets out a number of scenarios that are intended to be plausible, internally consistent, and coherent descriptions of possible futures.

Executive summary

The scenarios consider the epidemiological context that can generally anticipated in the EU/EEA from the summer of 2022 onwards. The timeframe for the scenarios is from 2022 to 2032. In publishing this document, ECDC does not ascribe a probability, nor suggest a higher likelihood of occurrence, for any of the scenarios described, which are not quantitative forecasts. The scenarios are based on the key variables of growth rate, disease severity and immune protection from severe outcomes.

 The qualitative scenarios are not mutually exclusive; over the course of the next decade it is entirely likely that there could be a transition from one scenario to another, due to changes in the virus, the level of immunity in the population or variations in societal response. The coming years will require extreme vigilance should new, more severe or more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2 emerge.

The scenarios and the associated public health response priorities outlined in this document provide a potential framework for defining overall strategic objectives and actions for managing COVID-19 according to a range of possible trajectories in the future.

Such strategic objectives need to be agreed upon so that operational discussions on the implications for a wide range of public health activities can take place according to a common understanding.

The public health activities outlined in this document that need to be considered in preparing for potential future scenarios include, but are but not limited to, surveillance, risk communication, pandemic preparedness, early warning, vaccination, medical countermeasures, NPI measures and IPC measures.