Not so fast: Thai epidemiologist questions plans to declare Covid-19 endemic by July

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A leading epidemiologist has questioned Thailand’s rush to declare Covid-19 endemic as infections and deaths surge and the country remains under Level 4 alert. Dr Chakrarat Pittayawonganon, director of the Bureau of Epidemiology, is suggesting officials slow down a bit, as he cast doubt on the wisdom of trying to declare the virus endemic by July 1.

Despite placing the country under Level 4 alert on February 21, the CCSA last week announced a roadmap for transitioning from pandemic status to endemic. However, Chakrarat points out that the highly-contagious Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is still raging through the country, creating a surge in cases and an increase in fatalities among the unvaccinated and vulnerable groups.

According to a Nation Thailand report, the infectious diseases specialist points out that this mutation is just as severe as BA.1 and 1.4 times more contagious. Chakrarat says most Covid-19 patients in Thailand now have the BA.2 variant and he expects case numbers to rise following the Songkran holiday, due to people returning to their home provinces, potentially infecting elderly family members and relatives with underlying health conditions.

Chakrarat says that data from February 13 to 19 shows that out of every 100,000 people in the provinces, at least 100 had contracted the virus. On February 21, 32 patients had died from Covid-19, most of them elderly or with underlying conditions. 60% of those who died were unvaccinated, while the remainder had not yet received a booster dose. Considering current infection trends, Chakrarat says now might not be the time to be making plans to declare the virus endemic anytime soon.

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SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Not so fast: Thai epidemiologist questions plans to declare Covid-19 endemic by July | News by Thaiger

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.

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