How will the Thai economy continue? When we have to live with COVID for a long time?


พิมฉัตร เอกฉันท์
ศูนย์วิจัย Krungthai COMPASS

In the past, accelerating the mobilization of vaccinations for the population has been a mission that every country attaches great importance to. To transition to the consideration of a plan to move forward with a full reopen country under the context of the new normal as soon as possible

But the emergence of mutated viruses like “Delta species” Instead, it underscores concerns that viral mutations will lead to new epidemics, leading to questionable questions. We must live with COVID-19 How much longer? And how will the context of the Thai economy move forward?

Covid-19 situation The world has begun to show better signs since September. Although many countries face severe epidemics of the delta species. This was reflected by the increase in the number of new infections at a significantly reduced rate. Meanwhile, the proportion of people who have received two full doses of vaccine has risen to well above one-third of the world’s population.

Like Thailand, the overall situation seems to have passed the critical point. Both in terms of the number of new cases and the number of deaths increasing at a noticeably slower rate. partly due to the elevation of epidemic control measures more stringent in the past Accelerating mobilization of vaccinations in high-risk areas as well as modifying human behavior to be in line with the new normal lifestyle

Thus, although the number of new infections from the latest wave of the delta strain is much higher than the first wave. But overall economic activity during the lockdown period Recently, the contraction was significantly less than during the first wave of the outbreak.

However, the widespread resumption of the epidemic after the relaxation of disease control measures. It may not be beyond expectation after the Thai Ministry of Public Health assessed that The number of new infections will rise above ten thousand per day. And the number of deaths may increase more than 150 per day, which has already begun to see some examples of the outbreak in the southern border provinces. and many clusters in the north And that makes many people have to come back to ponder when this “disease” will disappear from this “world”? Or will we have to go back to lockdown over and over again?

Krungthai COMPASS assesses 4 reasons for COVID-19 It may become a virus that will remain with our planet forever.

First, the number of people infected with COVID-19 There are many more It is based on an algorithmic analysis from the Machine Learning Model to estimate the number of infections in the United States. It found that the actual number of infections in the country may be three times more than reported. The group of asymptomatic and never tested for COVID-19 could be as high as 5-6 times the number of confirmed cases. These groups of people can infect others and become “carriers” that cause infection to close people. or family members is not difficult

Second: It is not yet clear what percentage of the population will achieve herd immunity. The proportion of people vaccinated against herd immunity varies from person to person. Diseases such as mumps 75-86%, measles 83-94% and whooping cough 92-94%, etc., for emerging diseases such as COVID-19 It took less than two years to study, so no conclusions can be drawn about this in a short time.

Third: Vaccination in the young population is still very controversial. Currently, there are only a few countries such as the United States and Australia. The Pfizer vaccine is temporarily approved for children aged 12-15, but the vaccine has not been approved for children aged 5-12. In the UK, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization has not yet recommended vaccination for children of that age. 12-15 years due to lack of evidence or research to support it

Last but not least: Even with the full dose of vaccination, there is still a risk of infection and the ability to spread disease. Even though many countries have rushed to mobilize more than half of the population for full-dose vaccinations, such as the United States, Britain, Israel and the United Arab Emirates. But recently, the number of new infections has accelerated dramatically, and that means Even the risk of serious infection is reduced. But many fully vaccinated populations can still infect and spread disease. This is especially true for the delta virus strain that can spread twice as much as the original strain. (Wuhan breed)

From the foregoing, that means We may have to live with COVID-19. perpetually in the form of endemic disease similar to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or influenza-like infection. which is often found annually seasonal outbreaks

Moreover, regular booster doses, like influenza vaccinations, are essential. This is because the efficacy of vaccines begins to decline in the face of mutated viruses. For example, the Lancet (2021) study published interesting data on the efficacy of vaccines from a cohort of 19,543 COVID-19 cases in Scotland, suggesting that after the subjects had completed two doses of the vaccine. After 14 days, the Pfizer vaccine’s effectiveness decreased from 92% to 79% and the AstraZeneca vaccine decreased from 73% to 60%.

Therefore, when the “world” has to live with this “disease” for a long time… Lockdown measures may not be the answer to the economic recovery context. especially if the lockdown measures are too long which in addition to causing more economic harm than good to the health system It also does not effectively reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

That is to say, although lockdown measures and social distancing can reduce the spread of infection widely. and reduce the risk of public health crises But on the other hand, it will cause economic activities to be halted and affect the overall economy to slow down in the end.

Take Australia, for example, which has previously implemented strict lockdown measures, but the number of new cases has accelerated in recent years. mainly from family and neighbor infections leading to a widespread epidemic cluster

In addition, accelerating as many vaccinations as possible is a key driver that will help the economy get back up and running faster. Many countries have relaxed quite a lot of disease control measures. and accelerating complete vaccination doses for more than half of the population, such as the United States and Europe, are likely to recover quickly. especially to ensure the population to restore economic activity. and life to return to normal as soon as possible

and the most important thing is Assessment of readiness to open a country Overall, the COVID-19 situation In Thailand, there are still high risks in many dimensions, such as the low rate of daily infection testing. But found a relatively high detection rate. The proportion of people who receive full dose vaccination is still relatively low and is concentrated in Bangkok and major tourist cities, for example.

Therefore, the decision to open the country in Thailand should have clear goals or benchmarks in key public health figures, such as the number of new cases. positive rate, fatality rate, and proportion of population receiving full dose vaccination. in order for all sectors to understand the context of the epidemic situation in the same direction

This will help assess readiness to cope with risks in the next phase. It will also help communicate to all sectors the balance between opening the country to restore the economy in the new normal era and the real public health capacity.

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