Posted 12 декабря 2022,, 09:36

Published 12 декабря 2022,, 09:36

Modified 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

Updated 24 декабря 2022,, 22:38

The coronavirus pandemic is not over and the forecast is disappointing

12 декабря 2022, 09:36
Hopes for an early end to the COVID-19 pandemic are unlikely to come true: if you look closely at the dry numbers of world statistics, you cannot help but notice the formation of another wave of morbidity.

Andrey Zlobin, Ph.D., mathematician

An increase in the number of cases is noted in a number of countries, including the United States, Japan, Italy, France, China and others. At the same time, the relatively frivolous attitude of mankind towards the latest strains of coronavirus is disturbing. A common view is that as new strains emerge, the severity of the disease decreases. Probably, in different regions of the planet they look at it differently. How else to explain the stringent quarantine measures that have recently been reintroduced in China? With small relaxations, these measures continue to be unprecedented. The Celestial Empire was the first to bear the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic, and who better than the Chinese to understand the danger of the disease.

It is also necessary to take into account some, often quite considerable, error with which statistical data on morbidity are collected. Based on my own experience, I can confirm that official statistics may differ from real ones by several times. In the mid-90s, I worked as an analyst at the Analytical Center of the largest Russian pharmaceutical company. We have developed our own methodology for independent analysis of the incidence of various diseases throughout Russia. The methodology provided greater reliability than official statistics. Even then, we were convinced that in the most unfavorable regions, official data, for example, on HIV infection, were underestimated by 2-3 times. The same could be said about some other dangerous diseases. Thus, the Analytical Center knew the real picture of the incidence, which was very different from the official "rainbow" figures. Despite the fact that mathematical models of COVID-19 are constantly being improved, I still do not see methods for predicting incidence that would surpass the level of our analytics of the 90s. Hence the skepticism regarding the optimistic scenario for the end of the pandemic.

It should be taken into account that the coming wave of the coronavirus pandemic will develop against the backdrop of swine flu and seasonal manifestations of SARS. That is, with a triple burden on the healthcare system. For older people with chronic diseases, this situation is especially dangerous in terms of possible complications. It is highly desirable for the elderly to use personal protective equipment and strictly observe social distance when in public places. Medical masks and even ordinary glasses can significantly reduce the likelihood of a serious illness. It is necessary to follow the rules of hygiene and regularly monitor the condition of the nasopharynx, using preventive measures recommended by doctors.

It is important that the state provide effective assistance to lonely old people. For example, in a number of cases, having every reason to receive material support, a subsidy for housing and communal services, a lonely elderly person is not able to apply for them remotely, since the procedure for such registration itself continues to be extremely complicated. Contrary to the one-stop-shop rule, pensioners are required to provide copies of a number of documents that they are physically unable to copy.

Firstly, many older people during the pandemic are forced to completely self-isolate and cannot involve others in work with documents, avoiding unnecessary contacts. And secondly, and officials should understand this, not every pensioner has the necessary modern electronics, copiers, laptops, computer peripherals, including scanners, printers, smartphones and related computer programs. It’s good if there is at least an ancient “personal phone” with which an elderly person can remotely reach out to officials. Well, if the pensioner is not alien to the concept of computer literacy. So far, alas, the remote registration of material assistance, subsidies for a single quarantined pensioner is practically inaccessible. It is unlikely that this state of affairs will benefit the health of older people.

Is it possible to predict the incidence of coronavirus in the coming months? Earlier, I wrote that serious mathematical modeling of the COVID-19 pandemic costs a lot of money, and not all analysts have such financial opportunities. However, it is possible to roughly estimate the future incidence in the winter-spring period based on data from previous pandemic waves. It is unlikely that the high February figures will be realized again, when the daily increase in cases in Russia reached 200,000 people. Most likely, the maximum incidence will be repeated at the level of September values. Although it cannot be ruled out that the New Year holidays will still affect the incidence in the direction of its increase. If the coronavirus infection is not allowed to "roam", including the likelihood of the emergence of new strains, then it seems reasonable to estimate the coming wave of the pandemic in Russia at about 60-80 thousand cases daily. In any case, there is no reason to relax, and the special danger of COVID-19 should be constantly remembered.