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Dr. Tsioutis: The pandemic will not be fully controlled in 2021

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Dr. Tsioutis: The pandemic will not be fully controlled in 2021

The pandemic will not be fully controlled in 2021, “which means that it will be with us, probably in a milder form in 2022”, says the Head of the Advisory Scientific Committee, Assistant Professor of Pathology at the European University and a Pathologist specializing in Control. Infections, Dr. Konstantinos Tsiotis.

Asked about the epidemiological picture of Cyprus in combination that despite the improvement in some areas we still see an increased rate of positivity and at the same time a high percentage of patients continues to be recorded, as well as deaths, Dr. Tsioutis said that indeed in the last few days we are seeing an improvement in the percentage of positivity, but it is still too early.

“This first of all shows the situation in the community and therefore, is not related to the number of patients we see today in the hospitals. The patients in the Hospitals today are people who come from contacts of the last two, three weeks. So, any change in the numbers of patients will be observed a few weeks after the change in the percentage we see in the community. That is the one, “he added.

The second, continued Dr. Tsioutis, “is what I told you, that yes for four, five days there has been an improvement in the rate of positivity, but this is something that will need to remain for a long time or even improve even more to say that Cyprus slowly “It is slowly coming out of the critical levels at which it is”.

“Where I told you about the patients, there are also deaths. And they come from previous contacts, from people who have been ill before. So, thirdly, that we will continue to see deaths unfortunately every day, since in the previous weeks we had such a high number of cases in the community and such a high percentage of positivity. So, it's too late to see that change. “All this on the condition that the percentage of positivity that has improved will remain improved”, he added.

As he said, “we see this change now that it started around January 10-11, because obviously the measures of December have started and are having an effect”.

This improvement, continued Dr. Tsioutis, if it is real, -this will be seen, will be confirmed in the coming days-, is not due to the lockdown that started five days ago.

“It is still too early to see the result of the lockdown. It is clearly due to the measures of December, which precisely because there was a large burden of disease throughout Cyprus would be slow to pay off. “As we knew they would be slow to perform,” he noted.
When asked when the epidemiological team is expected to evaluate the data as it is formed and what we expect to see after January 31, when the lockdown ends, whether there will be a total or gradual lifting of measures and what will determine the next steps, the Dr. Tsioutis replied that the epidemiological team is monitoring the data daily and the issue of easing the measures has already been discussed.

“The most decisive factor and the most decisive indicator for us to be able to safely pass into relaxation is to improve the situation in the Hospitals. The pressure due to the large number of people who needed a hospital is what led us to suggest the strictest measures. “So, this will be the condition for us to relax or see a significant improvement in hospitalization”, he added.

The safest, continued Dr. Tsioutis, all these measures that exist now must be observed, so that they begin to have an effect and the last week of January will be the most decisive.

“We have to take it for granted that relaxation will increase the incidence. Why? Because the contacts of the world will simply increase. Therefore, a relaxation is expected to lead to an increase in cases. During the relaxation period, the existing measures and protocols should be followed, but it should also be ensured that the relaxation plan will be such as to allow us to open slowly, but also to have good reflexes, so that we can control a possible new outbreak in time “, he added.

So, said Dr. Tsioutis, will be careful, slow, especially at the beginning, and very targeted, “which means that certain spaces will start to open, depending – at least from our point of view – and with the risk, the transmission risk that exists, how big the transmission risk is in every space we choose to open “.

“We will not open the most dangerous places. “We should not expect that the maximum number of people allowed will suddenly increase dramatically in the first weeks of February, nor that many places will open at the same time that will increase the risk,” he added.

Answering a question whether they are concerned about the mutations of the virus, Dr. Tsioutis said the mutations were to be expected, adding that those mutations that occurred – and we are referring to at least three that have been found to be similar to the United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan – have identified some mutations originating from travelers from Brazil. -, have some similarities, which can be seen from epidemiological correlations that these strains are more easily transmitted from person to person.

“So that means they're raising the number of reproductions. “It makes our job a little more difficult, but the basic philosophy of pandemic control and the goals that exist with the measures remain the same.”

Asked about reports in the international press that talk about side effects from vaccines and about the announcement of the Norwegian National Medicines Agency that people who had been vaccinated against coronavirus died in the country and if there was anything in Cyprus, Dr. Tsioutis replied that there is no such indication in Cyprus.

“And what was actually announced in Norway is still being investigated. So we, as doctors, will have to wait for the findings and the detailed description of these cases to understand if they are really related to the vaccine. They are related in time. So. Right now the announcement is: People who recently received the vaccine and died. But we do not know if they are causally related to the vaccine yet. Until we see more details. So far in Cyprus it has been shown that the vaccine was extremely safe. No alarming events were reported, “he added.

In a remark that the American pharmaceutical company Moderna had announced that the vaccine gives it a year of immunity and if that means that the vaccine should be repeated, Dr. Tsioutis said that these estimates for the duration of immunity from a vaccine are decided in laboratory tests that were done, where they saw how strong the immune response to the vaccine was and how long it has lasted so far.

“We have not closed a time since these vaccines were tested in humans. It has been about seven months since the first clinical trials began and all of these people are being monitored continuously and it seems that until at least seven months, given human immunity, it definitely lasts. The estimation that it is a time is rather from estimates from what I told you. Now, it may take even longer. We do not know. Whether we need to be vaccinated again depends on how many people have been vaccinated in this one year and how much the course of the pandemic has been controlled through vaccination, that is, we will still have many cases, they will have decreased, the epidemics will have decreased. “These are all things we have to see,” he added.

Dr. Tsioutis stated that he estimates that the pandemic will not be fully controlled in 2021, “which means that it will be with us, probably in a milder form in 2022”.

“So, if the vaccines really have a protection period of one year, then we will have to put it back. “But we do not know the things we hear to say with certainty.”

Asked about the criticisms they receive that some measures were not taken earlier or that some supermarkets were not closed, as a result of which there is a crowd, Dr. Tsioutis said that the measures that were not taken earlier, we have said many times that we are following the epidemiological situation and our suggestions as a Commission are to escalate the measures and not to close everything so easily.

“The reason we did not do a lockdown earlier was because we thought – at least those who did not recommend it – that the situation could be controlled by scalable measures. And as it seems with the results of the last days, it really is so. Indeed, the situation improves only with the escalation of measures, without lockdown. This is one. “And secondly, that the lockdown is something very binding, which you do not know how long it will last”, he noted.

So, continued Dr. Tsioutis, if we entered a lockdown in early December, most likely we would not open during the holidays.

“Because the holidays are a very high risk period. It was seen in many countries and it was also seen in Cyprus, where we saw a lot of contacts during the three days of Christmas, which led to a new upsurge that we observed on the 1st of January. That is, the events of January 1 arose from contacts during the three days of Christmas and the fact that at the end of December, around December 28, the new measure was introduced, where contacts at home were limited, shows the result these days already. So, if we had a lockdown at the beginning of December, we would not have opened the holiday season, because the risk of just opening it would have been huge and would have canceled the goal of a lockdown at that time “, he added.

Also, said Dr. Tsioutis, the epidemiological situation in Cyprus did not justify in any case a lockdown earlier.

“November, for example. In no case did he justify it. And it seemed, because the problem was in two provinces. That's where we saw the problem. The problem was controlled with targeted measures in those Provinces “, he added.

Dr. Tsioutis expressed the hope that this will be the last time we will need to take measures and indeed from February and then the situation will begin to relax, “but the condition for this, on our part, is to try to comply with these the measures as much as we can “.

“The goal and philosophy of the measures is to reduce our contacts. So, every day we have to have a reduced number of contacts, to move in a certain closed circuit of contacts, to protect those around us and of course, those who have symptoms to remain limited, because Covid is currently the most common virus we have in the community. There are not so many cases with other viruses. Covid is the most common. So, let's hope that it will be the last time we will have to make sacrifices and retreats and little by little from February we will see the result of these efforts “, he concluded.

Source: politis.com.cy

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