Infectologist Dumpis: this could be the last 'serious' Covid winter

This winter could be the last that Latvia faces serious problems with Covid-19, infectologist Uga Dumpis said in an interview with Latvian Radio on September 19. 

Latvian Radio: What is the situation with Covid-19?

Uga Dumpis: We haven't seen anything special in Stradiņš hospital. The number of cases rose slightly last week, but that is within the normal range. What's going to be next, it's hard to say, but it shouldn't be that the wave of illness for this variant is going to be very big.

How are the illness symptoms this autumn?

It is the type of Omicron, which rarely causes pneumonia. This virus can provoke cardiovascular diseases. In chronic patients, [it can cause] various infarctions, strokes, and other serious complications, therefore the risk factor is clearly age. Then there are patients with immunosuppression whose infection can cause serious problems and can also go chronical. These are the two groups we see in the hospital the most who should definitely go to be vaccinated. In unvaccinated individuals, this Omicron can cause serious symptoms. It is particularly typical for unvaccinated people that they get sick again and again.

What are you predicting for winter? Could the morbidity increase?

If we are talking about the severity of the disease, then clearly no. If about the frequency, then I think rather many could get sick. But the situation that the health system was literally unable to function for several weeks, I do not foresee it. But all of this depends on variations of the virus that could circulate. For example, in November or December, there is likely to be another wave, as well as, of course, this [wave] isn't over. Because it's difficult to predict. But a large proportion of people have been vaccinated, too, recovered and vaccinated. So they have the so-called hybrid immunity, which may not protect themselves completely from illness, but protect them from severe symptoms, also reducing the risk of long Covid-19.

I do hope, however, that this winter is perhaps the last one when we face serious problems. The worst is over. But I have to say this with caution because we really don't know how the virus can change.

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