Virologist predicts most of Thailand will have had Covid by 2023

PHOTO:Virologist Dr Yong Poovorawan says most people in Thailand will get Covid by 2023. (via Wikimedia Kkamols)

If avoiding the coronavirus feels futile at this point, maybe it is. According to one of the country’s top virologists, by about the end of this year, nearly everyone in Thailand will have been infected with Covid-19. The chief of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Department of Paediatrics of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine Yong Poovorawan predicted this by extrapolating from current and past data.

He said, about the same as influenza, within three years, most people will get Covid at least once. While infections first appeared in Wuhan, China in the last months of 2019, the first human-to-human transmission confirmed in Thailand was in a taxi driver at the end of January 2020.

Dr Yong says that advances in medicine have helped keep death tolls down, as medical treatment and vaccines bought time while the Coronavirus has mutated to be less deadly, but the pandemic extended for much longer than pandemics in the past because of that too. Just before the third wave of Covid last year, he predicted another wave or two, and about two years before the virus threat was staved off by herd immunity.

“Whereas in previous times epidemics such as cholera or Spanish flu usually only needed a year to infect most people in the country, killing about 1% of the population, medical technology advances have extended this timeframe a lot.”

Now, with most new infections being fairly mild, experts believe that most cases go unreported and the 2,000 to 3,000 new hospitalisations we are seeing per day means there are likely really tens of thousands of new infections daily. But with 20 to 30 deaths on average each day, the mortality rate has fallen much lower.

Yesterday the Ministry of Public Health reported 2,316 new Covid infections that were put into hospitals yesterday throughout Thailand as well as 35 deaths from the virus.

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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