Most countries of the world have eased some precautionary measures from Corona, especially when it comes to wearing a mask or opening borders, following reports that the number of injuries and death rates decreased. But did these countries rush into it, or did the Corona pandemic really end?
While the world thought that it could live in peace after two difficult years, a dangerous indicator emerged recently that warns of a new global outbreak, as the number of injuries in Shanghai, China, rose at a surprising speed and reached unprecedented levels since the emergence of the epidemic.
Also in Europe, the Corona virus continued to register more records, especially in France and Germany.
The virus recently swept the Swiss low-cost airline EasyJet, causing hundreds of flights to be canceled and causing confusion at a number of airports.
More than 200 airline flights were canceled over a recent weekend, leaving many travelers stranded at airports.
New virus breeds
For its part, the World Health Organization has added the PA4 and PA5 sub-strains of the original Omicron strain (PA1) to its watch list. It is already tracing the two strains PA1 and PA2 that are now widespread worldwide, as well as PA1.1 and PA3.
The PA2 strain, for example, currently accounts for nearly 94 percent of all sequential cases.
This explains the warnings of British scientists that the future strain of “Covid-19” may be more dangerous and cause far greater numbers of deaths and cases of serious illness than the Omicron strain, according to a report in the Guardian.
In addition, Omicron XE has also been detected as the latest type of coronavirus mutant circulating in the UK.
Looking at the figures released by Hopkins University, 6.1 million total deaths were recorded. As for injuries, they reached 482.3 million injuries globally. In total, 11,209,375,242 vaccinations were given globally.
As for the total doses given in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, it amounted to 112,874,974, while the total deaths amounted to 20,319 people. The total number of people that contracted the virus in the GCC was 3,588,363 people. Most Gulf countries have begun easing measures after the rate of injuries decreased significantly.
Corona’s future in the eyes of experts
Three main factors that determine the actual effect of any new coronavirus variant are:
- How well it can fool the immunity developed by those who received the vaccine or were previously infected with other mutations;
- The severity of infection;
- The severity of symptoms.
While the first two factors determine the number of cases, the third factor affects the number of severe cases and deaths. For example, the delta variant, which is still prevalent in most parts of the world, was significantly more transmissible than previously circulated variants, showed gradual evasion of immunity, and caused more severe symptoms relative to other variants.
As for the future of the epidemic, Steven Kessler, an infectious disease expert at Harvard University, says: “We will reach a point where Covid 19 becomes endemic like influenza, and then society will have to live with it according to certain social conditions and rules.”
As for Dr. William Moss from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, he believes that “Corona will at some point stop mutating, and the virus will weaken greatly, and its lifecycle is approaching its end.”
Moss indicated that after the pandemic, the virus will continue to cause common illnesses, the severity of which varies according to the health of the infected, the vaccines they received, and the infections they contracted.
McKinsey’s scenario analysis also indicates that Omicron-related hospitalizations are likely to continue declining in the US and remain at relatively low levels through the spring and summer.
Expectations pointed to the possibility of a new epidemic wave appearing in the coming fall and winter, but it is likely that the rate of hospital admissions will remain much lower than what was recorded in the previous wave.
WHO: This is the Corona scenario
For its part, the World Health Organization (WHO) presented the paths that the Covid-19 pandemic may take this year.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the most likely scenario is that the virus will continue to evolve, but the virulence of the disease it causes will decline gradually as immunity increases thanks to vaccination.
It is possible that the number of infections will rise to a peak from time to time when immunity declines again, which will require giving booster doses of the vaccine, especially to weak people.
What lessons have we learned?
The Omicron wave has taught us several lessons. According to a McKinsey study, vaccination has proven to be important in protecting against mutants.
The data also indicated that many people concluded that the health risks of COVID were not significant enough to change our behavior.
Some governments have concluded that the total societal costs of lockdowns and business restrictions outweigh the benefits at this point in the pandemic. However, other governments maintain or strengthen public health policies, including mandatory vaccination.
The WHO’s Emergency Committee decided “unanimously” that it was not time to lower the level of caution against Covid, the head of the committee announced at a press conference recently.
“The situation with regard to the Covid pandemic is not over yet,” said Didier Hossan, after the committee concluded that the pandemic remains a national health emergency of international concern, which is the highest level of alert that can be issued by the WHO.