The world is expected to return to normal in a few months. Are these two signs that a turning point has been reached?

2022-05-03 0 By

“The virus will not be eradicated. The virus will be with us for many years, but we should be able to return to almost normal life in a few months.”On January 22, Israel’s N12 News broadcast an interview with Albert Bourla, the chief executive of Pfizer of the United States. In addition to expressing optimism about the future of the epidemic, he also stressed that the abnormal conditions caused by mutated viruses such as Omicron would be manageable.Borra’s optimism about the coronavirus is not unfounded. With the advent of vaccines and oral medicines, the human Arsenal of “weapons” that can be used against the Novel Coronavirus is becoming complete.Although mutated viruses have emerged again and again, recent changes in outbreaks in places like South Africa and the United Kingdom are starting to give some scientists a chance of seeing a long-awaited turning point in the epidemic.”It’s nice to see people getting out and relaxing. How long have we been cooped up? Hopefully Omicron is the last phase of this epidemic.”In South Africa, where the Omicron mutation was first discovered, local residents responded differently to media interviews than they did six months ago when they fought against the Delta mutation.Last summer, the Delta variant hit South Africa, straining the health care system. Intensive care units ran out of beds, oxygen and death rates for those diagnosed.But today, hospitals are facing a different situation, with about half of their beds empty, fewer patients needing oxygen, and less pressure on medical staff.Shabir Madhi, a vaccinologist at the University of witsrand in Johannesburg, said that the rise in vaccination rates, combined with previous high infection rates, had contributed to South Africa’s collective immunity to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic, reducing the number of severe cases and deaths during the fourth wave (caused by Omicron).Deaths from Omicron accounted for less than 5 percent of all deaths in South Africa.”I am optimistic that we have reached a turning point in the epidemic,” Said Marty, who believes that even with the repeated emergence of novel Coronavirus variants, the pandemic and the devastating death toll are probably over.This is not just happening in South Africa, but also in The UK, where a new wave of infections caused by Omicron is subsiding, and the death toll has not risen significantly.Julian Hiscox, a professor at the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Infectious, Veterinary and Ecological Sciences, said the epidemic could be nearing a turning point. “I think life will go back to what it was before the pandemic in 2022,” he said.Mark Woolhouse, professor of infectious diseases at the University of Edinburgh, stressed that half of the world’s population had been exposed to the virus or had been vaccinated against it, so “the game has changed” from a viral point of view.In the latest wave of COVID-19, the average number of confirmed cases in South Africa has dropped from a peak of more than 23,000 to around 3,000, according to Johns Hopkins University epidemic Tracking data.The seven-day average of confirmed cases in the UK also fell from a high of more than 180,000 to just over 92,000.▲ The number of confirmed cases in South Africa and the UK has dropped significantly.(Source:A study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on March 25 also showed that 13% of hospitalized patients were admitted to intensive care units when Omicron was the dominant strain, compared with 18% when Delta was the dominant strain.The death rate fell from 12% to 7%.▲ The death rate caused by the epidemic in South Africa and the UK is significantly lower than previous waves of infection.Far from the end of the outbreak?Although there are signs of a turning point in the outbreak in South Africa and the UK, there are still many experts who have reservations about this view.Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, argues that the emergence of a new mutant strain could cause an epidemic to change overnight.This can be seen in Omicron’s high infectivity and the severe disease rate caused by Delta.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, secretary-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), also warned that the outbreak is still nowhere near over and that with the rapid spread of Omicron, a new variant of the virus is likely to re-emerge.However, Mr Marty believes that when good news comes out of South Africa, many countries are often sceptical, perhaps because of a “racist” mentality.Salim Abdool Karim, a South African public health expert, also points out that the latest local data showing four times fewer hospitalizations due to Omicron than during Delta is based on rigorous scientific evidence.Marta Nunes, senior research fellow at witwatersrand’s Department of Infectious Disease Analysis, stressed: “The prediction we made in December still holds true, Omicron is relatively less severe, and dramatically the virus is evolving to adapt to human hosts, making it behave like a seasonal virus.”