Temporary Covid-19 surge may result in 10,000 daily cases

Picture courtesy of UNICEF Thailand/Preechapanich

A new wave of Covid-19 infections is expected to bring daily cases to 5,000-10,000, but a swift decline in numbers is predicted thereafter, according to Dr Nitipatana Chierakul, Head of the Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis Division at the Faculty of Medicine in Siriraj Hospital.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Dr Nitipatana noted a rise in infections caused by the Omicron XBB.1.16 sub-variant but highlighted the majority of cases were mild. He explained that severe reactions were likely due to pre-existing health conditions. He said…

“During the new wave, daily cases are estimated at 5,000-10,000 patients, which is relatively low compared to last year. It is anticipated that cases will reduce within a few weeks.”

Dr Nitipatana acknowledged that high-contact festivals, such as Songkran, naturally lead to increased virus transmission. However, he believes this will not be significant enough to harm society or the economy.

Regarding long-acting antibody (LAAB) treatment and other Covid-19 antiviral pills, he advised that they might not be necessary for everyone.

“Favipiravir has been shown through global use to be futile since the end of the Delta variant.”

Dr Nitipatana cited Thai medical experts recommending annual Covid booster shots and suggested they should be administered primarily to vulnerable groups since most people have already developed immunity.

He referenced a March 28 update from the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (Sage), which suggested booster doses for “those still at risk of severe disease, mainly older adults and those with underlying conditions.”

High-risk groups include seniors, individuals with underlying conditions, children over six months old, pregnant people, and frontline health workers.

Starting May 1, the Public Health Ministry will provide influenza and Covid booster shots simultaneously to citizens, free of charge in state-run hospitals.

Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, encouraged elderly people and those with underlying conditions to receive both vaccines soon.

He stated that the vaccines will help reduce severe symptoms and fatalities. To date, Thailand has identified 27 cases of the XBB.1.16 sub-variant, with one fatality—an elderly individual.

For mildly symptomatic patients, the government recommends using apps for remote medical consultation. Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana announced yesterday that universal healthcare scheme members can access remote treatment through four telemedicine apps: Totale Telemed, Clicknic, MorDee, and Saluber MD.

Covid-19 NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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