End of COVID-19 pandemic difficult to predict — Balbisi

(Photo: Petra)
AMMAN — Secretary-General of the Ministry of Health Epidemiological Affairs Committee Adel Balbisi said that the health indicators related to the COVID-19 pandemic are positive, especially the absence of new variants, whether in Jordan or the world.اضافة اعلان

He told Jordan News that there is “a significant decrease in the number of cases and deaths, and even in the percentage of positive tests, which confirms that the current conditions are good and bode well”.

He pointed out that the number of infections with the COVID-19 virus decreased during the 13th epidemiological week by 45 percent, with “the number of cases reaching 1,731, compared to 3,171 cases in the 12th week”.

The number of deaths during the same week “amounted to 17, compared to 28 in the past epidemiological week,” Balbisi added.

He also indicated that 124 individuals are currently receiving treatment in hospitals, compared to 183 during the 12th week, “a decrease of about 32 percent, while the percentage of positive tests reached 3.78, compared to 6.5 percent during the 12th epidemiological week, a decrease of about 42 percent”.

Despite the numbers, Balbisi said that “it is difficult to predict when the pandemic will end or when we can say that it has completely disappeared, especially since the number of cases in some countries is increasing”.

Balbisi stressed the importance of wearing masks in closed places and getting fully vaccinated with first and second doses or, in the case of those who had been vaccinated for three months or more, with the third dose, to keep the epidemiological situation in the Kingdom under control.

Mohammad Tarawneh, a pulmonary and respiratory diseases specialist, told Jordan News that “there are some rumors that take a large space on social media” about the end of the pandemic or new variants, and stressed that citizens should continue to be careful and not pay attention to rumors.

Elaborating, Tarawneh said that “the COVID-19 infections come in waves, which begin with a clear rise in the number of infections, till it reaches the peak, and then the cases decrease again”.

He also said that what distinguishes the Omicron variant is that it spreads rapidly, but the number of hospital admissions is lower because this variant is less efficient at affecting the lungs.

“The peak of Omicron infections was between January 15 and February 15; this wave contributed to acquiring herd immunity, and in light of this, Jordan and the world began to gradually return to normal life and ease the strict measures,” he added.

“However, following the course of events worldwide, I can say that a new wave of coronavirus is likely to happen, especially at the beginning of August, when about six months will have passed since the acquired herd immunity and the effect of the vaccine will have declined,” he said.

Tarawneh stressed that “it is not possible to predict what the virus has in store for us in the coming days; there is a possibility, for example, that this virus will be the cause of an endemic disease, where the number of deaths will become much lower than it is now, and there is also a possibility that there will be a new variant that is even more contagious than Omicron”.

“Currently, it can be said that we are in a stage of epidemiological stability, and the only thing that we can do now is to prepare for all possibilities, and for this we must strengthen the health sector, pay attention to healthcare workers and provide them with the latest technologies so that there will be no pressures on the health sector in the future, if any new mutations occur,” he added.

At the same time, it is important to “create new legislation to protect the elderly and people with latent and chronic diseases so that new variants do not reach them”, he stressed.

Some time ago, Bassam Hijjawi, member of the National Committee for Epidemiology, was quoted by local media outlets as having predicted that the WHO would announce the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it will be considered a seasonal disease at the end of this year, indicating that Jordan will live the next five months safely and with fewer cases than in previous months.

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