How Epidemics End: A Framework Article

As COVID‐19 drags on and new vaccines promise widespread immunity, the world's attention has turned to predicting how the present pandemic will end. How do societies know when an epidemic is over and normal life can resume? What criteria and markers indicate such an end? Who has the insight, authority, and credibility to decipher these signs? This article examines the ways in which scholars have identified and described the end stages of previous epidemics, pointing out that significantly less attention has been paid to these periods than to origins and climaxes. A multidisciplinary analysis of how epidemics end suggests that epidemics should therefore be framed not as linear narratives—from outbreak to intervention to termination—but within cycles of disease and with a multiplicity of endings.

Full article available online:

Charters, E, Heitman, K. How epidemics end. Centaurus. 2021; 63: 210– 224.