Prymula is an optimist: The autumn wave of coronavirus will be weak. Children are not at significant risk

Epidemiologist Roman Prymula is optimistic about the autumn and the possible return of the pandemic. He estimates that the autumn wave will be weak compared to last year. He cites the vaccination coverage of people in the Czech Republic and the large number of those who have had the disease and have antibodies as the reason.

The former head of the health ministry estimates that this autumn will be much better than last. “I am pretty optimistic in this case. What we’ve been suffering from here and what put us in the last place in the world was the giant wave that took place here and affected a significant portion of the population, “Prymula said.

Now, he said, the state of the pandemic and the Czech population are different. “It turns out that, combined with the number of people who have been vaccinated and those who are immune because they have had the disease, we have a significantly smaller part of the susceptible population, and you can see that today,” he believes.

Even though measures have loosened significantly over the summer, the high increase in infections in neighboring countries is not happening in the Czech Republic. “That’s why I think this wave specifically in our country will be significantly lower than in the surrounding areas,” the epidemiologist added.

The Institute of Health Information and Statistics (IHIS) has already estimated that the maximum limit could be 1,000 infections per day in the autumn. But Prymula dared not guess a specific number. “These are estimates that can not be based on real numbers because we don’t have them,” he noted.

Children are not the dominant threat, Prymula believes

There has also been plenty of talk in recent weeks about the spread of the disease as children return to school, and there is also a discussion about vaccinating the youngest part of the population. Prymula mentions that in the USA, for example, more and more children are becoming infected.

“We see, for example, in the United States, that morbidity is shifting significantly into the childhood age categories. Hospitals with children’s beds there are pretty busy at the moment. Still, it’s clear that the clinical course is milder than what we saw in our wave where the 65+ population was predominantly affected, “Prymula explained.

But the former health minister cautions that, in general, it can not be said that the spread of the disease in children carries no risk. “We can not say in general that children are not a threat. Indeed, it is not the dominant threat, but it is documented that this spread has occurred, “the epidemiologist said.

Will the singing ban come again?

On the other hand, he advocates not massively testing schools as much as last year. Prymula thus agrees with the provisional plan that pupils should undergo triple entry testing at the beginning of the year. After that, it should continue as the pandemic situation in the country develops.

The epidemiologist also spoke about the much-criticized ban on indoor singing or gym classes for those children whose parents refuse to be tested for the coronavirus. “Singing has proven to be a hazardous factor in terms of spread, but here the measures should be more widespread in schools,” Prymula believes.

He said he could not imagine it working, for example, if some pupils “stood in the corridor and waited for the rest of the class to sing.” A complete ban could come back that way, he said. “If we assess that this is a risk, in theory, singing should be banned completely,” he concluded.