55% rise in infections and deaths from Covid virus

PHOTO: Mutations have led to a sharp rise in Covid virus infections and deaths. (via T Douglas Gurley MD)

Scientists are making their regular plea to the public not to forget about and completely write off Covid-19 yet. While people worldwide have generally moved on from the stressful and fearful days of the height of the pandemic, the virus is still bringing infections and death and still mutating.

A Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medicine doctor warns about a 55.6% increase in deaths and hospital admissions last week. He estimates the daily infection tally could be between 2,800 to 3,889 during the week of February 5 to February 11.

In a Facebook post, Dr Thira Woratanarat emphasized the importance of continuing to be cautious. Dr Thira also stressed the importance of wearing face masks correctly, as this greatly reduces the risk of catching the virus and suffering illness or death.

The world currently has recorded a total of 677,658,400 confirmed Covid cases and 6,782,849 deaths, with 53,062 more cases and 384 deaths reported just yesterday. The five countries with the highest number of infections are Taiwan, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and the United States.

A recent study published in The Lancet by Mykytyn AZ et al. from the Netherlands warned of Omicron mutations spreading around the world. Subspecies of the Covid virus, including BM.1.1.1, BQ.1.1, and XBB.1, are mutating, leading to antigenic changes in the virus.

The Omicron strain has already produced more than 813 subspecies since it started spreading across the world last year and shows no signs of stopping.

Despite the decrease in severe illness and death rates due to either the effect of vaccinations or the virus weakening, Dr Thira cautions that people should not underestimate the risk of infection. The virus is still causing sickness and death globally every day, and it is important to continue to be vigilant and take necessary precautions to prevent its spread.

In November, Manoon Leechawengwongs, a pulmonologist with Vichaiyut Hospital in Bangkok, backed the World Health Organisation’s concerns that infections caused by subvariants of the Omicron strain were on the rise.

Dr Manoon urged the people of Thailand to get their annual flu shot and for others to boost their immunity with another vaccine shot. He believes another booster shot will help people recover much faster from Covid-19 should they catch it. Many of the cases that turned critical, the physician added, were among the unvaccinated.

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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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