Coronavirus across the world Photograph:( AFP )
The course of the pandemic also could be influenced by a vaccine; however, a vaccine will likely not be available until at least sometime in 2021.
The novel coronavirus is likely to keep spreading for at least another 18 months to two years -- until 60 to 70 per cent of the population has been infected, researchers have said.
The team of researchers also suggested that the US should prepare for a worst-case scenario that includes a second big wave of coronavirus infections in the fall and winter.
Even in a best-case scenario, people will continue to die from the virus, they predicted -- as the herd immunity gradually develops in the human population.
COVID-19 is most comparable to a pandemic strain of influenza. It appears to spread more easily than flu because of a longer incubation period, more asymptomatic spread, and a higher R0. R0 is the average number of other people infected by each patient.
A higher R0 means more people will need to get infected and become immune before the pandemic can end.
The course of the pandemic also could be influenced by a vaccine; however, a vaccine will likely not be available until at least sometime in 2021, the team said.