In an article Ian Powell has written about the next possible stages of Covid. He has summarised the writing of Professor Michael Baker. Here are three predications:
Prediction 1: More waves, more variants
Omicron’s sudden rise to be the “pandemic’s public enemy number-one” given how deadly the Delta variant was surprised epidemiologists and other scientists. But, having observed its spread globally and its dramatically changing nature, Baker’s first prediction is that there won’t be just one wave of Omicron; unfortunately there will be more (possibly several) and, worse still, more variants to follow.
Prediction 2: Smarter technology
On the more positive side, however, Professor Baker’s second prediction is that virus-fighting technology will get “smarter” as it has since to the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020.
Another development Baker anticipates is much more progress with antivirals. These are medications that help the body fight off certain viruses that can cause disease. They can also be preventive. This includes against Omicron. Potentially a person with cold or flu symptoms who tests positive using a rapid antigen test could then take some antivirals for a few days to protect themselves.
Prediction 3: a long-term strategy
Michael Baker notes that had Aotearoa suffered the mortality rates of other countries on a per capita basis, we might have had 19,900 (United States), 13,700 (United Kingdom), 9,470 (Sweden), or 5,530 (Denmark) pandemic deaths.
This is extraordinary and comes down to the Government largely following the advice of experts such as him to implement an elimination (zero tolerance) strategy towards community transmission.
But Omicron’s very high transmissibility means that our boundaries have been breached and we have to mitigate rather than eliminate. Consequently Baker calls for a durable long-term strategy for managing the virus.
This would include protective public health measures such as mask-wearing. It would also include requirements for border arrivals to be fully vaccinated plus a pre-travel Covid-19 test, and rapid antigen tested. Of course, there will need to be much more to a strategy than this.
Here is the full article: Omicron predictions for 2022 – Otaihanga Second Opinion (wordpress.com)
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