Latvian society is fortunate that the omicron strain of the coronavirus proved to be less capable of causing severe disease and death. The second factor that makes it possible not to be too afraid of the expected outbreak of infection in the fall is a fairly large proportion of the immunized population, an epidemiologist said in a discussion and analytical program Rus.LSM.lv “TSK” Nikita Troyansky.
“There is some cognitive dissonance here, because on the one hand, yes, we were lucky, and it’s actually luck that the omicron turned out to be lighter. Somewhere around 60% less often it leads to hospitalization than, say, delta. Why do I say “lucky”? Because we have seen that the previous strains, each following, were “more vigorous”. More people were hospitalized. (..) But what is worth understanding?
Yes, the omicron has gotten softer — but a huge part of that relief, that we don’t have full hospitals right now, is because there’s already a huge level of immunity in society. M Most likely, in Latvia now 90-95% have antibodies to Covid-19. That is, almost everyone has either been ill, or vaccinated, or both. And, of course, with such a level of immunity, even if the delta had returned now, and there was a delta wave, we would not have seen such a terrible picture that we saw in October-November 2021. When a lockdown was needed if we wanted to prevent 500 to 2,000 deaths in that time frame,” the doctor said.
Troyansky drew an analogy with the infamous “Spanish flu”: that flu killed 50-100 million people within two years. But then the “Spanish flu” remained in circulation and circulated in society for the next 30 years, but already claimed not 50 million lives, but 500 thousand a year:
“Why? This was due precisely to the fact that a significant level of immunity had accumulated in society. Because, again, we need to distinguish: if the immunity that protects us from a severe course of the disease – and it looks like in the case of vaccines or natural transmission of the disease by the omicron or delta, this immunity from the severe course of the disease lasts long enough, we still do not know how much – maybe in two years it starts to fall. But it seems that six months or a year is kept at a stable level.
But there is immunity that prevents infection! And this immunity is short-lived. After infection, it keeps well enough for about three months – and then begins to fall rapidly. At a rate of about 6-10% per month – which means that every next month you are 10% more likely to become infected if you come into contact with an infected person.
Will coronavirus vaccinations be mandatory? According to Nikita Troyansky, this is due precisely to the fact that Latvia is waiting for the fall. There are three options for the development of the epidemiological situation, he explains. Or seasonal outbreaks of omicron infection will continue, as it was in the summer and, most likely, will be in October-November. Or, a new strain will appear, and depending on what clinical features this strain will have, either vaccines will be offered to the whole society, or only to some risk groups.
“If this new strain is even more contagious, I think it would make sense for the whole society to get vaccinated! And if he puts people in the hospital bed much more often – let’s say we go back to the situation where one in ten people goes to the hospital – then I think there will be a need for a mandatory vaccination policy.
So far, it looks like we have no reason to think that there will be a second or third scenario. While we can hope for the first, and if we just continue to have seasonal waves of infection, I don’t think there is a reason to make vaccination mandatory.
I think it will be advisory in nature, all the more, only for people over 50 years old – go make a second booster. And, probably, this second booster will be made with a new, modified vaccine, the so-called bivalent vaccine, which protects against both the main strain of the virus and omicron.”
Source: GOROD.LV – новости Даугавпилса by gorod.lv.
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