28,000 daily Covid-19 infections possible without “decisive action”

FILE PHOTO: Mask up! Covid-19 infections could be surging this month.

Without swift and decisive action, Covid-19 infections could surge to 28,000 people per day within the next month . This according to expert warnings and computer predictive modelling. The Department of Disease Control warns that the current spike is more infectious and deadly than the previous 2 waves and extreme action is needed. 967 new infections were reported by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration yesterday, the highest single-day number Thailand has ever seen.

The DDC’s epidemiology division, working with the International Health Policy Program, calculated models to predict the arc of future infection rates if Covid-19 safety measures were not enforced. The model’s worst-case scenario predicted a maximum of 28,678 daily cases.

This is the worst-case scenario, however, as the minimum number of infections could be around 1,300 people. But a reasonable average without safety measures could be about 9000 daily infections, not a great situation for Thailand, a country that had until now done a great job avoiding a heavy wave of Covid-19 infections.

But for the UK variant (B117) newly arriving in Thailand, much like many new tourists arriving before it, Thailand’s hedonistic nightlife scene may be where it all goes wrong. Of Bangkok’s 1,114 infections, 823 of them were traced to entertainment venues. Across Thailand, a total of 140 bars and clubs in 15 provinces have been identified as virus-transmission locations.

Krystal Club in Thong Lor, now infamous amidst a swirl of news of politicians and powerful elite spreading infection there, tops the list of the 85 Bangkok infected clubs, with 211 infections this month. Chon Buri, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Pathum Thani, and Chiang Mai all had less than 10 Covid-19 infections linked to nightlife venues. In total, Covid-19 cases linked to nightlife outbreaks have spread to 70 provinces all over Thailand.

As a result, we’re facing a party-free Songkran with 41 provinces closing all entertainment venues for 2 weeks and the 36 other provinces are following stringent screening and mask-wearing, poised to lock down the same if the pandemic comes knocking.

Bangkok intends to ready 10,000 field-hospital beds in preparation for any possible surge of the more infectious B117 strain spreading through Thailand now. The DDC does reassure though that the situation is still manageable if everyone works together and takes swift and strong actions.

The third wave of Covid-19 infections might be contained, but it will take a lot of personal discipline from everyone, and a sacrifice of Songkran’s joyous celebrations, unfortunately.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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