Since last month, the world COVID-19 pandemic has improved. As many countries weathered their winter outbreaks, new infections worldwide plummeted.
However, Wafaa El-Sadr, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, thinks this is optimistic “very fragile”.
Not sure why good
In the past month, new cases of COVID-19 have decreased in most countries. In particular, the improvement in the epidemic situation in the top six countries in terms of cases has pushed the global number of COVID-19 cases down significantly.
The epidemic has been pushed back worldwide thanks to many different factors. Experts in the most affected countries say that this is the result of tightening social measures, people’s awareness, natural immunity in the community, and increased of the SARS-CoV-2 virus itself.
If we were to separate each factor, perhaps the anti-epidemic effect wouldn’t be as strong.
Although the United States does not impose a nationwide blockade, improving people’s awareness of epidemic prevention, combined with increased immunity in severely affected subjects, has helped avert a catastrophe in the number of cases. after the holiday season.
“In winter, when the situation got really bad, I think people saw bad things in the community and made different choices. They cancel gatherings, they stay at home more, they use masks …”, Said Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.
In South Africa, the pandemic situation improved for a number of reasons, but mainly due to the reduced spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. According to Marc Mendelson, lead professor at the University of Cape Town, the COVID-19 epidemic will reach a barrier when there are not many people left for the virus to infect and SARS-CoV-2 cannot continue to increase its transmission.
Experts in the UK believe that the reduced cases are not the result of vaccinations but because of the nationwide blockade immediately after the holidays. Although a quarter of the country’s population was vaccinated, only the earliest vaccinated people were protected from COVID-19 on Jan. 10, when cases in the UK began to decline. Most of those who get vaccinated early are health workers and the elderly.
Not getting vaccinated early will face challenges
COVID-19 vaccination has not been uniformly implemented in countries. According to the World Health Organization, more than a quarter of the vaccines in the world are used in just 10 countries. Wealthy countries are stockpiling vaccines and ordering enough to vaccinate people multiple times, while many poorer countries have yet to receive any doses.
Recently, South Africa published a study showing that the AstraZeneca vaccine is not very effective with the COVID-19 strain variable capable of spreading more strongly in the community. This announcement lowers hopes of countries planning to use this inexpensive and easy-to-store vaccine.
“We have just started our immunization campaign in South Africa and it’s going to be very slow …“, Professor Mendelson said.
Experts believe that the COVID-19 vaccine has an important role to play in reducing infection rates, limiting deaths and hospitalizations. Vaccination may even reduce the risk of the SARS-CoV-2 virus mutation if countries can make the vaccine available to the public. However, the next phase of the epidemic is also important in avoiding a new wave of epidemics.
“To take advantage of the declining new infections, we need to continue to practice public health and vaccinate as many people as possible.”Said Bruno Ciancio, head of disease surveillance at the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
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