According to the head of Rospotrebnadzor, Anna Popova, in an unfavorable scenario, the number of cases of covid infection detected per day in the Russian Federation could become six figures. Is our healthcare system ready for this?
Social networks have already filled posts with a description of the course and symptoms of the new infection.
“Well, everything seems to have begun. After the New Year holidays, people arrive from abroad and bring Omicron with him. This was expected. One of my acquaintances, in the course of communicating with a person who had flown in from Miami, immediately felt unwell, she immediately began to have a runny nose and sneezing. Moreover, my friend was twice vaccinated with "Sputnik". She writes: “I got infected from an American citizen ... I have not left my house for the 4th day. Symptoms: continuous sneezing, severe runny nose, feeling that the virus is in a certain place and tickles the mucous membrane. I wrote to a friend from America - everyone in their family is sick with the same symptoms, and even with pain in the heart. And it hurts, although I never complained of my heart”, - blogger Maxim Novikovsky writes on his Facebook.
Europe has already recorded a sharp increase in the number of diseases and hospitalizations. There, the 5th wave seems to have already become a sad reality. Judging by the figures published by other countries, Russia will face a high jump in incidence. It is difficult to say whether the wave of Omicron will be as protracted as Delta. But the fact that it will break all anti-records for the number of infections is already obvious.
“The 5th wave of coronavirus in Europe over the past week, compared to the previous one, gave an increase of 68% in the reported cases of coronavirus. The number of hospitalizations increased by 5%, but the death rate fell by 9%. It can be assumed that the number of hospitalizations in Russia will grow by about 10-15% due to the lower number of vaccinated people compared to other European countries. The Omicron strain will also take part in this, flu and other seasonal respiratory diseases will be added”, - said Guzel Ulumbekova, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Rector of the Higher School of Health Organization and Management.
According to the doctor of medical sciences, virologist of the Gamaleya Center Anatoly Alstein, a new wave of coronavirus will "cover" Russia in about a week: in late January - early February. We asked Anatoly Davydovich to make assumptions about the features of this very new wave.
“Firstly, the Omicron strain has come to many countries, including Russia. The new virus and new wave will result in more hospitalizations with a higher incidence rate. As for the lethality, this is a crafty question. Mortality from the Delta strain was 3.5% of cases in Russia and about 1.5% of cases in countries where the level of vaccination is higher than ours. Omicron also has a lethality. It still ranges from 0.4 to 0.8% of the number of cases. But then again, how to count. In the UK, statistics are kept in more detail and thoroughly, taking into account age categories, vaccinated and unvaccinated, more tests are done there. Everything is different with us. Severe cases are worth waiting for, pneumonia will be diagnosed, but mortality will be lower than with Delta disease. Vaccinations against infection with a new strain practically do not protect. But you need to be vaccinated in order to avoid a lethal outcome", - said" NI " Doctor of Medical Sciences, virologist of the Center. Gamalei Anatoly Alshtein.
Judging by how the incidence of the disease has increased worldwide, it is clear that vaccines that have been effective against Alpha and Delta do not hold back Omicron. Vaccinations continue to curb the disease and reduce deaths, but a very important vaccine modernization challenge is brewing.
“At the Gamaleya Center, the basis of the vaccine against the Omicron strain has been made. But she has not yet passed the test, and this process is quite long. Safety and antibody tests should be performed. We need at least a month of animal testing, then a month in humans. Clinical efficacy can be analyzed in parallel with the use of a new vaccine, but it still takes time", - said the doctor of medical sciences, virologist at the Center. Gamalei Anatoly Alshtein.
The increase in morbidity inevitably raises the question of expanding the bed capacity and increasing the number of doctors. Will our optimized and underfunded medicine cope with this?
It is known that in Russia a year before the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of infectious beds was reduced by 40%. These figures were not given by anyone, but by the Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko . According to him, the number of beds in infectious diseases wards for adults decreased from 2010 to 2019. Before the optimization, there were 35.4 thousand beds in the country, and in 2020 - 25.1 thousand infectious beds. The number of children's places in infectious diseases wards during the same period was reduced by 23%, from 33.1 thousand to 26.8 thousand. "In addition, there was uneven availability of this type of medical care throughout the country, understaffing with infectious disease doctors and epidemiologists." - concluded the minister. In addition to this, Murashko admitted that more than half of the infectious diseases hospitals were located in buildings that did not meet the conditions of treatment.
If you recall, over the past year, the bed capacity for covid has been expanded several times, and then reduced. The increase was mainly due to temporary covid hospitals similar to those deployed in Moscow at VDNKh. There seems to be a lot of places, but the severe course continues to be treated in only a few hospitals: in the 52nd City Clinical Hospital, in the N.V. Sklifossovsky and in Kommunarka. Getting to these clinics is a great life success.
“Our health care system was optimized, it was underfunded for many years, as a result, and before the pandemic there was a shortage of doctors, especially primary care, there was also a shortage of specialists in the countryside. As a result, not all patients were able to receive timely medical care. And this was compounded during the pandemic, when a third of healthcare capacity was diverted to treating patients with coronavirus infection. As a result, people with other diseases were affected. In the first year of the pandemic (2020), according to statistics, the detection of circulatory diseases decreased by 16%, and the number of oncological diseases decreased by 17%. As a result, the number of neglected cases of diseases is growing. And if there were enough medical workers and beds, it would be much easier to cope with the situation”, - said Guzel Ulumbekova, Doctor of Medical Sciences, Rector of the Higher School of Health Organization and Management, to “NI”.
That's about the specialists - to the point. In the "red zones" to meet a neurologist or urologist as a treating doctor is a common thing. And this is even more fortunate, because these specialists, unlike dentists (who also treat in the "red zones") studied anatomy...
This is especially noticeable in the regions. In the Lipetsk region, Governor Igor Artamonov, due to a shortage of doctors, decided to suspend the provision of routine medical care for two weeks. The official explained that the shortage of personnel is due, among other things, to the fact that at least a quarter of the specialists were on sick leave. Tatiana Bykovskaya, Minister of Health of the Rostov Region, announced the catastrophic shortage of doctors. She explained this by the increased burden on polyclinics in the face of an increase in the incidence of coronavirus: the congestion of people, she said, led to an increase in cases of diseases among the health workers themselves.
All this again makes us think about anti-epidemic measures - wearing masks, observing social distance. “With the omicron, whether you are vaccinated or not, wear ffp3 respirators in public, the best without a valve. And yes, they are reusable. Basically for 20-24 hours one total. If you get to work a day, an hour a day, then one leaves for more than a week. And in general, the requirement for masks, social distance, sanitizers for everyone is returning, "says journalist Kirill Shulika, who maintains detailed statistics on the incidence and mortality from coronavirus.
...But while numerous cordons in the metro continue to allow people without masks to pass, and one cannot even dream of social distance in public transport.