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‘Game over, Covid’: 10 things we learned about the virus in past 3 years
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2023
One of Thailand’s top virologists on Monday listed 10 things we have learned from the new coronavirus as the world shifts out of pandemic mode.
This year will be “game over” for Covid-19, said Dr Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University, in a Facebook post. However, he added the pandemic had changed the world in several aspects.
“We have lived with Covid-19 for more than three years. This is what we have learned so far and the estimation of what will happen next,” said Yong.
1. Covid-19 is like influenza in the sense that the virus will evolve in a bid to coexist in the host by reducing the severity of symptoms. The disease that initially had a fatality rate of 3-5% now kills less than 0.1% of infected patients.
2. Diseases with severe symptoms, such as Ebola, Marburg and Lassa fever, are less likely to cause a global pandemic, unlike low-severity diseases such as Covid-19 and influenza.
3. Different types of Covid-19 vaccine are equally capable of preventing severe symptoms and deaths. While mRNA vaccine is capable of raising immunity in the short term, the immunity will also decrease faster. Statistics show that countries that administer only mRNA vaccines do not have significantly lower infection and mortality rates.
4. The reason infection rates are currently slowing is because the majority of the population has already been infected and developed immunity. This is apparent in countries where over 70% of the population has been infected.
5. Immunity created from infection combined with vaccination is stronger and will last longer than immunity created from the vaccine alone.
6. As Covid-19 becomes endemic, the infection pattern will be similar to that of influenza or other respiratory diseases that we know.
7. In the future, only people in vulnerable groups will need Covid-19 vaccines, while healthy people will be able withstand reinfection with only mild symptoms.
8. Knowledge from study and research is the most crucial factor in tackling the global pandemic.
9. This year will be “game over” for Covid-19, as the World Health Organisation will likely stop reporting daily infections due to low numbers. Covid-19 infections will eventually become a seasonal event, prompting countries to gradually reduce their surveillance status.
10. As for Thailand, infections will subside from February and then start emerging again from June to September (in line with the rainy season), before subsiding again. This seasonal rotation will occur every year.
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