QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica’s Minister of Health, Daniel Salas, stated in an interview with Noticias Monumental that the omicron variant could mean the beginning of the end of the pandemic, although he insisted that it is necessary not to lower our guard with sanitary measures to prevent the spread of covid -19.
Since the arrival of omicron, the country has faced an accelerated increase in covid-19 cases. Even the contagion rate registered a new historical maximum of 2.64 this week
However, Salas explained in the radio program, taking previous pandemics as a reference, it is usual for pandemic viruses to lose strength in lethality and gain in transmissibility, as they adapt to humans. The minister was emphatic that covid-19 may not have such behavior, since no previous coronavirus pandemics have emerged.
Other specialists consulted by La Nación, such as the microbiologist and health specialist Darner Mora Alvarado, predict that ómicron will lead humanity from a pandemic to an endemic one by the end of the year. That is, from a global health crisis caused by a disease, to a situation similar to that of influenza, which is common among people.
For his part, doctor and epidemiologist at the Universidad Hispanoamericana (UH), Ronald Evans, also agrees that what we are seeing is part of the natural history of viruses, which attack with great force and cause great lethality, but lose strength when they mutate.
Hand in hand with these experts, epidemiologist at the Universidad Nacional (UNA), Juan José Romero Zúñiga, considered it likely that this new variant is the beginning of the end of the pandemic. “Although it is true that we are going to have many cases, they will be waves of short duration, with little hospital occupation and a lower lethality,” he said.
However, Salas also mentioned that, although omicron seems to mark a change in the behavior of the virus in humans, the variant is still a concern and could cause pressure on the hospital system.
“We must be careful in saying that the omicron variant is milder, because it may be that it does have a lower lethality pattern, but if we are talking about a significant amount of the infected population, it can be just as stressful for the hospital system”, affirmed the hierarch in the interview.
Like Salas, the director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, assured that it is a “mistake” to describe the omicron variant of covid-19 as mild and that this is still a “dangerous” virus.
“Although omicron causes less severe symptoms than delta variant, it is still a dangerous virus, especially for those who are not vaccinated,” said the WHO chief.
“More transmission means more hospitalizations, more deaths, more people unable to go to work, including teachers and health workers, and more risk of another more transmissible and deadlier variant emerging than omicron,” he added.