Medical Experts Warn Of Covid-19 Fourth Wave

source – reuters

U-shaped covid wave threatens Malaysia with emergence of stronger variants that are more highly transmissible. 

Medical Experts Warn Of Covid-19 Fourth Wave

In the majority of countries with a 90 percent vaccination rate, the number of Covid-19 infections should continue to decline.

Datuk Dr Chow Ting Soo Infectious Disease Expert at Penang Hospital, told The Star that there is a recurrence of cases in the vast majority of cases in a U-shaped curve.

“This is because of the emergence of stronger variants and variants that are more highly transmissible.

“Besides, immunity conferred by the vaccine will wane after three to six months, which means that even post-vaccination, breakthrough infections are anticipated and expected.

“This is what we are preparing to face as the re-emergence of cases is expected or the so-called fourth wave,” he said.

Dr Chow said that if this occurred, there was concern that the healthcare system might collapse, potentially affecting the economy – which is why booster doses are required.

“For those who are more than 40 years old and those above 18 with comorbidities, there is a need for them to go for booster shots,” he added.

Dr Chow, who is also the state’s infection control coordinator, said that these vaccinations were critical in flattening the curve, slowing the pace, and preventing the healthcare system from collapsing.

source - tatler asia

In a statement with The Star, Dr Kumitaa Theva Das, a virologist, warned that if the fourth wave occurred, there would be another surge in mortality and hospitalisation rates.

“In Europe, the spike in cases has primarily occurred among the elderly (who received their vaccine shots much earlier in the year) and among kids who are not eligible for inoculation,” she highlighted.

“The immediate concern is how much longer can the healthcare system cope if there is an increase in Covid-19 cases.

“When we saw record-high cases in the middle of the year, many hospitals were pushed to the brink, and we don’t want to see that happening again.

“According to data on CovidNow, there has been an increase in deaths in Kedah, Melaka, Penang, Negri Sembilan and Terengganu in the past two weeks.

“There has also been an increase in hospitalisation in Johor, Kelantan, Pahang and Penang, and an increase in cases in Kedah, Kelantan and Melaka.

“With cases rising in many states, it is important to remember to practise the SOP (standard operating procedure),” Dr Kumitaa added.

Assoc Prof Dr Venugopal Balakrishnan, lecturer at Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Institute for Research in Molecular Medicine, told The Star that if a Covid-19 wave occurs, additional infections from variants of concern like the Delta variant and others may develop.

“We will see a rise in the number of cases. This situation may end up in another movement control order or targeted MCO.

“When there is an increase in cases, there will be consequences such as hospital beds being fully utilised and an increase in ICU (intensive care unit) usage, which might lead to certain states or districts reverting to lower phases of the National Recovery Plan.

“The economy will also be affected,” he said.

Dr Venugopal continued by stating that Malaysia had been subjected to three Covid-19 waves.

The first wave began on January 25, last year, when the first case was announced, although the number of cases has since decreased.

The second wave began with the Sri Petaling cluster, which implemented the first MCO on March 18, 2020.

The MCO progressively reduced the number of Covid-19 cases, and on June 10, the recovery MCO was introduced.

The third wave began on September 8, 2020, mostly as a result of the Sabah election and the Tembok cluster.

source - the straits times

“Until now, the government is still containing the third wave by vaccination and ensuring that SOP are adhered to.

“However, if the country enters the fourth wave, we will see a surge in the number of cases.

“A few countries like Germany, Russia and Austria are now facing a fourth wave with the surge of cases.

“This is mainly due to the relaxation in SOP (masks not being compulsory and others) and low vaccination rate,” Dr Venugopal added.

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