Coronavirus disease 2019 scenarios for a long-term strategy under fundamental uncertainty

Frans Brom, Josta de Hoog, J André Knottnerus*, Ruth Mampuys, Tanja van der Lippe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Web of Science)


Early on scientists have pointed out that COVID-19 is most likely here to stay, although its course and development are uncertain. This requires a long-term strategy of living with the virus. However, the urgency of new waves of infection and the emergence of new variants invoke an approach of acute crisis management over and over, hindering the design of a structural approach for the long term. Exploratory scenarios can provide scientific strategic guidance to policy processes to be better prepared in this situation of fundamental uncertainty. We have therefore developed five scenarios which describe the possible long-term development of the pandemic from an epidemiological, virological and broader societal perspective. These scenarios are based on four driving forces that are both important and uncertain: immunity, vaccination, mutations and human behaviour. The scenarios are: (1) Return to normal, (2) Flu+, (3) External threat, (4) Continuous struggle and (5) Worst case. Working with scenarios is crucial for appropriate public communication and provides guidance for anticipating the various conceivable possibilities for the further course of the pandemic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-199
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Early online date24 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022

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