Although we’re past 2020, coronavirus is still very much present and spreading. The WHO warns that the start of the year will not be as quiet as some might expect.
After a difficult year, the arrival of 2021 will be experienced by many as the symbolic burial of the year 2020. Despite this ritual passage, even if some habits are changed and good resolutions are made, the pandemic continues its relentless course, ignoring the calendar. After a great movement of people during the holidays, there is no doubt for the WHO that the beginning of the year could be particularly difficult.
So far not a great start to the year
As the statistics show, the situation in many countries has continued to deteriorate. In the U.S., numbers jumped after Thanksgiving and the vacation season, with a quarter of a million new cases of infection, reported every day. Japan is preparing to declare a new state of emergency as the country experiences its third deadly wave. Europe, along with the Americas, is the continent experiencing the worst resurgence of the virus.
“Several countries are experiencing incredibly intense transmission rates,” said Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO pandemic manager. “There are really scary numbers in terms of cases, hospitalizations, and admissions to intensive care units. “And when the family celebrations end,” she said, “it’s likely to get worse. “We’re starting to see it now, and we’ll see it in the next few weeks. In many countries, the situation is more likely to get worse than it is to get better.”
Light at the end of the tunnel
It is undeniable that vaccine distribution worldwide will be a critical element in slowing and hopefully containing the pandemic; but in the meantime, experts urge citizens to remain vigilant.
“We still have three to six months of a very, very difficult road ahead of us. But we can do it,” says Michael Ryan, an emergency response officer with the WHO. “The cavalry is coming, the vaccines are coming, but they’re not there yet for most people in the world. “So we have to be cautious for a few more months and assume that a large enough proportion of the population is ready to be vaccinated.
Finally, are the recent two new strains that are more contagious than the parent form (D614G) bad news? Fortunately, the severity of the disease does not appear to be affected by these new strains, and there is no evidence that their spread poses a serious threat to the effectiveness of the vaccines developed to date. So there is hope for the new year ahead, but victory will come only at the price of a collective effort!