Corona: problems predicted even with endemic condition

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This sounds anything but good: Corona will cause problems even in an endemic state, a report states.

The advisory body Gecko warns that Corona should not be underestimated even if it transitions to an endemic state. Even then, there could be “massive adverse effects” that would require local measures, according to a report released Thursday. Currently, the situation in Austria is considered stable, but the coincidence with other infections, such as influenza, could cause problems for hospitals.

If the trend continues, “staff-related restrictions” cannot be ruled out, the authors write. Also, the current wave of influenza and other respiratory infections could soon lead to more patients in standard and intensive care units.

Problems caused by Corona, even in the endemic condition
The report states that Corona will also cause problems in an endemic state simply because there will be a higher disease burden worldwide. To this end, “Long Covid” will affect general well-being and the ability to earn a living and will drive up health care costs.

What is an endemic disease?
Epidemiologist Eva Schernhammer defines an endemic in this way: “When the occurrence of SARS-CoV-2 infections remains relatively constant or becomes ‘predictable ́ as is the case, for example, with influenza, since its undulating seasonal occurrence is relatively easy to anticipate.” At present, he said, the available indicators suggest that we may be approaching an endemic phase.

Warning from epidemiologist
However, Schernhammer warns that when a disease becomes endemic, it does not necessarily mean a positive development: “For example, malaria is endemic in certain latitudes. However, that does not make malaria less dangerous.”

Remedy against Corona
Gecko sees vaccination as an effective remedy against Corona, showing its benefits in children. Hopes are pinned on bivalent vaccines, the administration of which – similar to the flu – once a year could be sufficient.

However, there have been signs of growing pandemic and vaccination fatigue in the population since the summer of 2022. This is increasingly true among women, younger people, those who have recovered and people with a lower socioeconomic status. The reasons for this development are skepticism about the effectiveness of the vaccine, fear of side effects, and the perception that the omicron variant poses less danger.

Majority prescribed in Vienna
The use of covid medications is still uneven regionally. Almost 53 percent of all medicines prescribed were prescribed in Vienna. At least the proportion has decreased a little, which means more use is made of the drugs against covid in the other provinces.

After one year of Gecko, the panel members were thanked by Health Minister Johannes Rauch (Greens), Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner and State Secretary Claudia Plakolm (both ÖVP) at an event. Rauch said that the expert group’s consultations had proved their worth. Tanner even saw a “role model” for crisis management. In just under a year, the Gecko Commission discussed and answered around 600 questions posed by the federal government and published more than 350 pages in executive reports.

Source: APA/picture: pixabay.com

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