The recent surge in Covid cases has raised concerns, but experts believe that black scenarios similar to the deep pandemic period are unlikely to occur. While the number of confirmed infections is increasing due to the highly contagious omicron mutations, the situation is expected to be better managed. Molecular geneticist Jan Pačes from the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Czech Academy of Sciences reassures that the current rise in cases is not resulting in a significant increase in hospitalizations, unlike what was experienced two years ago.
Mutations of the omicron variant, eris or pirola, are responsible for the steep increase in case numbers in neighboring countries. In the past two weeks, the number of infected individuals in the Czech Republic has tripled. On Monday, 607 people tested positive compared to 200 two weeks ago. However, the severity of cases is relatively low, and most patients have a mild to moderate disease course.
Despite the positive trend, concerns remain regarding the lack of interest in vaccination, especially among older individuals and those with chronic conditions. Omicron can pose problems for these vulnerable groups. The symptoms of COVID-19, including fever, cough, fatigue, runny nose, and muscle or throat pain, closely resemble those of the flu. Treatment for healthy individuals is similar to that of the flu as well.
Hospitalizations are gradually increasing, with ten patients currently being treated at the General University Hospital, most of whom also have other underlying conditions. At the beginning of this week, there were 113 Covid patients in hospitals, with nine in intensive care units. The situation is more favorable than in previous years, as vaccines and antiviral medications are readily available. Healthcare professionals have recently administered vaccines to 160 individuals, marking a slight increase in vaccination rates.
The World Health Organization (WHO) anticipates waves of infections in the coming weeks and months. To ensure hospitals can cope with the rising cases, countries must maintain an adequate supply of equipment and personnel. However, the availability of healthcare staff remains a challenge. WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove warns that the long-term consequences of COVID-19 should not be overlooked, as even individuals with mild symptoms may experience lasting effects such as reduced performance, sleep disorders, joint pain, or loss of certain senses.
While governments and restrictions have not been implemented, stricter measures have been relaxed. Molecular geneticist Jan Pačes suggests European society should learn from Asian countries’ crisis response habits. Protective respirators could be a habit people adopt to protect themselves and others from infection.
By staying vigilant and implementing appropriate measures, the impact of the omicron variant and potential future variants can be minimized.