The world needs to carefully reduce the isolation time before the risk of Omicron – Delta disaster

Health experts also recommend that governments of countries should not reduce epidemic prevention restrictions, including reducing the isolation time of COVID-19 cases, even though the number of seriously ill patients has not increased.

Director General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus yesterday (December 29) said Delta and Omicron are two concerns that could lead to COVID-19 tsunamis. This could strain the health system, with unvaccinated people at a much higher risk of dying from both variants.

Ghebreyesus emphasized: “The pressure on the health system is not only the new cases but also the large number of health workers infected. Omicron is spreading rapidly, and along with vaccines, social distancing measures are needed to prevent infection, protect healthcare workers and systems, and ensure social and educational activities continue.” .

The warning of the Director-General of the World Health Organization comes as a series of countries report the number of cases peaking faster than expected. The average number of new cases per day in the US, UK and France all exceed the average of more than 200,000 cases per day. The number of infections occurred in both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Countries like Malta, which have 95 percent vaccine coverage, are still seeing a sharp increase in new cases.

Even so, vaccines are still being shown to be protective, because although the number of new cases increases exponentially in many countries, the number of hospitalizations and even those who are hospitalized, the need for mechanical ventilation, the need for intensive care also did not increase sharply. Currently, the US records about 9,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized each day, much lower than the 16,500 cases/day recorded in January. With the number of new daily cases accounting for nearly 0.3% of Malta’s population, but now only 82 COVID-19 patients are being treated.

However, with many countries reducing self-isolation time as well as restricting measures to prevent epidemics, the Executive Director of the Health Emergencies Program Mike Ryan said that countries need to be cautious in changing their strategies:

“I think the most important thing right now is to be cautious about making immediate tactical and strategic changes, based solely on the Omicron data. Omicrons cause less severe disease and are more contagious – that’s true but we need to wait and see if the vaccine works or the variant is weak. We need to wait.”

Spain has just announced to shorten the isolation period for COVID-19 cases from 10 to 7 days. Previously, the US also reduced the isolation recommendation for asymptomatic COVID-19 cases from 10 to 5 days.

According to WHO experts, even with the previous variants, most patients will either incubate and develop symptoms or test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus within the first 6 days. Thus, only after this time period, the possibility of positivity or transmission is lower. Therefore, reducing the isolation period for people with COVID-19 is a “trade-off” between controlling the spread of the disease and maintaining economic activities.

There are also concerns that COVID-19 cases could spread like “forest fires” after the New Year holidays, as well as more countries announcing restrictions on New Year celebrations as well as promoting campaigns. vaccine booster shot.

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