Corona virus: Does society have to learn to live with it?

COVID-19: Learn to live with the Corona virus

Many long for the end of the Corona crisis and hope for a return to normal soon. However, the new corona virus will not go away easily and therefore it is valid according to the expert Prof. Dr. Uli Beisel from the University of Bayreuth to learn to live with the virus. The key word loud coexistence.

"Protective measures, vaccinations and above all a robust health system enable coexistence with SARS-CoV-2", emphasizes Prof. Beisel in a current communication from the University of Bayreuth. However, we are not yet used to coexisting with this virus. The basic lesson is "that we are all reminded of the high societal value of a robust, publicly funded and broad health system". This is the only way to achieve the most harmless possible coexistence with dangerous organisms like viruses.

The virus won't just go away

"We cannot expect the pandemic to disappear after six weeks of physical distance, but we as a society must now learn to coexist with such a dangerous virus at least for the foreseeable future - for example until we have a vaccination," emphasizes the expert .

Coexistence an achievement

So the virus will probably remain among us, only its existence may become less visible "because the biomedical infrastructure of hospitals, nurses, health insurance companies, etc. protects us with the help of a vaccination." That coexistence is not a harmonious process but a literal achievement of society , can be clearly observed through the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Fragile balance

Above all, it is a remarkable achievement of biomedicine in western modernity that coexistence with viruses, bacteria and parasites usually requires relatively few fatalities, emphasizes Prof. Beisel. However, this is also "a balance that remains fragile and - as ecologists rightly warn - will also become increasingly vulnerable with decreasing biodiversity."

Public, broad-based and financially well-equipped health care is, according to the expert, a decisive factor in enabling coexistence with pathogens such as the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2.

Reinvent social life

"From a social science perspective, I can only add that the changes in social life will be with us for longer and will shape our societies," Prof. Beisel continued. It is now a matter of reinventing social proximity in conditions of physical distance in society in order to learn to live with the corona virus.

Regarding the mobility restrictions, the expert explained that this could also have a negative impact on the course of an epidemic, since, for example, important resources are withdrawn from other areas and the flow of medication, protective clothing and medical personnel could thereby be impaired. (fp)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Dipl. Geogr. Fabian Peters


  • University of Bayreuth: Expert from the University of Bayreuth: "Society must learn to live with the corona virus." (Published April 6th, 2020),

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