“Long-term” Covid… Detecting new symptoms

Despite the large spread of the BA.5 sub-strain of Omicron across Europe, Europeans are no longer interested in hearing any warnings or adhering to previous prevention measures, as long as there is no pressure on health facilities and no significant increase in deaths.

According to a report by the “New York Times” newspaper, the posters calling for the prevention of the insidious coronavirus have become from the past, such as “the remains of the Berlin Wall.” In this regard, Silvia Giuliano, 45, who was inside a bookstore in the Italian capital, Rome, says, She is no longer wearing a protective mask, and the faded stickers that hang on the doors of shops and stores are a thing of the past.

‘moral challenge’

Despite fears that the new mutant is spreading in Europe significantly, governments are not taking drastic measures, including in the countries that were previously the most stringent, largely because they are not seeing a significant increase in severe cases, nor overcrowding in health centers. In addition, there were no waves of deaths, as happened at the beginning of the pandemic.

One good aspect of the issue is that summer infections will create more immunity for the more difficult winter months, explains Andrea Crisanti, a professor of microbiology who served as a senior advisor to Italian leaders during the coronavirus emergency. The massive levels create a moral challenge for governments to protect the elderly and the frail, who remain at risk of serious disease despite vaccination.”

And she added, “We need to change our model. I don’t think that measures aimed at reducing transmission have any future,” explaining that overburdening societies with restrictions has made them currently more accepting of risks.

And she added: “The biology of the virus has become so infectious that there is nothing that can stop its spread.”

element of randomness

In contrast, Oxford University epidemiologist Christoph Fraser sees the “element of randomness” that generated the new mutations as “alarming”, and across Britain, cases of Covid virus have tripled or more since late May, according to a survey by the Office for National Statistics. in the country.

“There are no signs of infections, with rates approaching levels last seen in March of this year at the height of the sub-strain wave of the Omicron BA.2 mutant,” said Sarah Crofts, who heads the Census Bureau’s analytical team.

According to government data, the number of hospitalizations has quadrupled since May, but the deaths caused by the virus, which are on the rise, have not approached the levels recorded at the beginning of the year, and here sees the epidemiologist at Imperial College London, Neil Ferguson: “In general, From a public health perspective, we need to remain vigilant, but that is no reason to reverse course.”

The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s drug regulator, said in April that second booster doses would only be required for those over 80, but on July 11 it recommended a second booster dose for everyone over 60 who are healthy or have diseases. Chronic and weak immunity.

“This is how we protect ourselves and our loved ones,” European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Stella Kyriakides, said in a statement, adding: “There is no time to lose.”

On the other hand, governments across Europe are trying to strike a balance between health imperatives and not impose closures, and in Germany, the Robert Koch Institute, the federal organization responsible for tracking the virus, said, “there is no evidence” that the BA.5 mutant of the virus is more lethal.

But the German Minister of Health, Karl Lauterbach, shared tweets sent by a doctor in a hospital in the German city of Darmstadt, in which he said that “the Covid ward in the hospital where he works was completely occupied by patients with severe symptoms.”

Germany’s Vaccine Board has not updated its advice regarding the fourth dose, and currently still recommends a second booster dose only for those over 70 and at-risk patients.

Bet on the people

In France, where 83,000 cases were reported daily over the past week, a third more than the last two months, Health Minister François Browne refused to impose new restrictions.

“We decided to bet on the responsibility of the French,” he said in radio statements, recommending that the public wear masks in crowded places, before urging a second dose of the booster vaccine to be given to the most vulnerable people.

He seemed confident that France, where nearly 80 per cent of people were fully vaccinated, could weather the new wave of infections.

And in Spain, where the vaccination rate exceeds 85 per cent and more than half of the eligible population has received a booster dose, the epidemic seemed to subside as people returned to their usual beach holidays and welcomed tourists with eagerness.

Encouraged by the low number of intensive care departments not to worry about the future, officials said monitoring would be sufficient.

But not everyone was satisfied with this situation. “We have practically forgotten everything,” Rafael Villasanjuan, director of policy and global development at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, told a research body.

But other parts of Europe have been more complicated. In the Czech Republic, where there are no restrictions at all, including in hospitals, the virus is spreading and officials are publicly expecting a rising spike in cases.

“The current wave in other European countries a few weeks ahead of us has not shown any significant impact on their health system,” said Deputy Health Minister Josef Pavlovic.

On the other hand, pubs, restaurants and cinemas in Denmark are full, where cases have risen by 11 per cent in the past two weeks, including hundreds of people at a music festival this month.

“The numbers are positive – there are no longer people who develop serious symptoms as a result of the spread of the new mutation,” the Director-General of the Danish Health Authority, Soren Prostrom, said in a statement.

The Danish Health Authority expects the infection to spread in the fall, and plans to provide booster doses after that.

In Italy, which was the first European country to suffer strongly from the effects of the first wave, reports of new cases have risen steadily since mid-June, although they have fallen in the past week.

The average number of daily deaths has more than doubled over the past month, but hospitals were not overburdened, as Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced that the country would follow the European regulator’s recommendation to provide a second booster dose to everyone over the age of 60, and not only Those over 80 years of age or patients at risk.