The incidence of covid in Russia remains at its peak. In the media, the new rise that began in the fall is called the fourth wave of coronavirus. We talked to Alexander Solovyov, a physician and expert in laboratory diagnostics, and Vladimir Bolibok, an allergologist and immunologist, about why it has arisen and how long it will last.
Why has there been a new rise?
In August-September the disease rate went down a little, but soon after the start of the school year it skyrocketed. This is due to the fact that the classes started without any significant restrictions and the "delta" became easier to spread through the children.
According to physician Vladimir Bolibok, the fact that there were vacations, plus many people left the cities for their summer vacations, contributed to a slight improvement in the situation.
How long will the fourth wave of coronavius last?
There are two fundamental factors that will influence when all this will be over, explains Alexander Solovyov. The first is the formation of collective immunity. Until more than 80% of the population has it, the coronavirus cannot be stopped. The second and no less important is how complete and adequate the restrictive measures aimed at suppressing the spread of COVID-19 are.
- We see that even in countries where the level of vaccination is high enough, higher than ours by at least two times, when the main restrictive measures are removed, the virus again gets a chance to spread after some time, and countries have to return to these measures up to tougher ones," the expert noted. We still do not have enough vaccination or restrictive measures, which means that the coronavirus infection will continue to spread among the susceptible population, which includes everyone to varying degrees: those who have been vaccinated, those who have had the disease, and those who have not yet encountered the virus.
"We're not going to get to a low transmission rate in the next few months, to substantially relieve hospitals of the burden of treating covid patients."
How many more waves will there be? And anyway: will the coronavirus ever end?
As long as there remain countries in which less than 10% of the population is vaccinated (and there are many), the spread of coronavirus cannot be brought under control, says Alexander Solovyov, citing data from the World Health Organization (WHO).
- In this case, conditions remain for the coronavirus to have pockets of large-scale spread among people, which will inevitably lead to mutations and the emergence of new strains," the expert explains. - In addition, there will always be a threat that the virus will spread from these countries to other countries. Ways to control the coronavirus and additional measures to protect against its spread must be maintained until the threat disappears globally.
According to Vladimir Bolibok, influenza pandemics in the past lasted about three years. If this applies to the coronavirus, we're in for at least another pandemic 2022.
"A couple more slides like this and the bodies of the people left behind will adapt, develop immunity, and get sicker."
Vladimir Bolibok, allergologist and immunologist
- Coronavirus will still exist, it will remain as a severe form of SARS. In terms of mortality, it will surpass influenza - it will kill directly and exacerbate chronic diseases in the post-exacerbation period, - said the doctor. At the same time, according to Alexander Solovyov, the coronavirus cannot be compared with influenza. The influenza virus does not mutate at the same rate, is not able to be transmitted secretly and be present asymptomatically. It does not have the same super contagiousness and long incubation period. Vaccination alone will not defeat it, you need a set of measures.
- Coronavirus is with us forever. It is now one of the infections that are transmitted by respiratory tract, - says the doctor. - Specialists estimate that annually from 20 to 30% of the Earth population will fall ill with covirus, and the mankind has all instruments in its hands to control this situation and to prevent high mortality rate and overloading of health care institutions. A number of countries already have such experience: Japan, China, other countries of the Asia-Pacific region, and Portugal in Europe.