Given the approaching winter months combined with the recent elimination of the National Disaster Act, South Africans are concerned. watching growth In case of COVID infections. The Conversation Africa spoke with Infectious Diseases Specialist Veronica Weckermann about the current trajectory of the epidemic in the country.
How is the last peak different from the previous ones?
In mid-May, there was a case of COVID in South Africa on the rise again.
Recent data show that the number of hospital admissions has increased, both in the public and private sectors, and is much smaller than in previous peaks. It: proportion of patients Admission to the intensive care unit is also lower than mortality.
This indicates that most of the cases found were mild or accidental (in other words, they tested positive when they were admitted to hospital for something else). A similar pattern was observed with the fourth wave, which was short in December 2021 / January 2022.
In South Africa, the fourth wave of COVID-19 infection was dominated by the Omicron version, which was labeled: “Option of concern” Following a report by South African scientists from the World Health Organization.
The concern with the Omicron version was that increased portability, which leads to a rapid increase in cases բարձր high test-positive rates. It turned out that the clinical picture of this version was quite different from its predecessors.
had Decreased severity of the disease. And more randomized diagnosis among hospitalized patients for other reasons.
The current increase in infection is due to subunits BA .4 և BA.5 of the Omicron version. These may be early days, but they appear to have similar clinical manifestations.
There is hope that a combination of “hospitalizations” and “deaths” is observed in Armenia fourth wave These subtypes will continue to be considered.
Where from here?
The evolution of the epidemic reflects changes in both the SARS-CoV-2 virus and human hosts.
It: The evolution of SARS-CoV-2 The virus is an adaptive process to increase transmissibility to avoid a host immune response (in particular, antibody-mediated neutralization).
As for human hosts, the majority of the population has some degree of immunity to the virus, whether through vaccination or previous infection.
In the future we will probably see that SARS-CoV-2 will need endemic seasonal waves և updated vaccines: stimulants. COVID-19 will not go away, but we will be able to manage the impact it has on our lives և health systems.
Compared to the previous part of our epidemic, our perceptions of immunity to SARS-CoV-2 have improved. And the role of neutralizing antibodies, T-cells և B-cell responses was well described.
The resulting variants may have mutations to avoid neutralizing antibodies, but this does not mean a complete loss of immunity from vaccines or natural infection, as the other components of the immune response are retained. Stimulant vaccines have been developed Strong immune responses Omicron version.
As much as we want to return to the pre-epidemic reality, complacency and a complete rejection of caution at this stage are likely to see an increase in incidence, hospitalization, morbidity, and mortality. Caution is not yet in the wind to protect us as the most vulnerable.
As for the long-term effects.
The changing landscape of the COVID-19 epidemic has seen the emergence of a new syndrome known as: “Long COVID”. This may be less dramatic than an acute infection, but it does have a significant impact on the quality of life of those affected.
The syndrome is defined as: Permanent symptoms (such as fatigue, wheezing, shortness of breath, muscle fatigue, chronic cough, insomnia և “brain fog”), which are found 12 weeks after the initial infection. The incidence of chronic COVID is higher in hospitalized patients. But it has been described as an acute infection.
In addition, long-term համապատասխան appropriate և screening and management of COVID patients are likely to continue to be an additional burden on highly stressful health care systems.
Has the healthcare system suffered side effects?
During the years of the epidemic, significant health damage was caused.
Affected by the management of chronic diseases և other infectious diseases such as HIV և tuberculosis (TB). For example, there has been a slowdown in the decline of the world level of tuberculosis. In addition, the number of people receiving TB treatment significantly decreased during the epidemic. Tuberculosis-related deaths are projected to increase from 5% to 15% the next five years.
The failures were due to the fact that the aftermath of the epidemic posed significant obstacles to the management of patients with chronic diseases. These included:
Health facilities are overcrowded with acute patients during different waves
Sometimes lack of public transport
Closure of some outpatient facilities և
Fear of individuals getting COVID from health care providers.
As health care providers, we hope that current versions of SARS-CoV-2 will cause milder illnesses, but we must not forget that hospitalization and mortality due to COVID-19 continue.
Author: Veronica Weckermann – Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Pretoria
What to expect in the short term: in the long run
SourceWhat to expect in the short term: in the long run