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Daily Covid cases may rise to 50,000 in 4th wave, but death toll will be low

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The number of Covid-19 infections may go as high as 50,000 a day in the fourth wave of the pandemic as the Omicron variant is 4-6 times more contagious than Delta,​ Dr. Chalermchai Boonyaleephan, deputy chairman of the Senate Public Health Commission, said on Wednesday.

He said the rapid increase in infections stems from the nature of the new Omicron virus, which has the ability to spread rapidly.

Omicron is 4-6 times more infectious than the Delta virus, but is five times less lethal.

When taking the above information, together with the statistics of the third wave of Covid in Thailand caused by the Delta virus, it is possible to estimate that number of people infected by this variant – through RT-PCR tests and antigen test kits – would be around 50,000 daily with some 70 daily deaths, Dr. Chalermchai​ predicted.

In the third wave, the highest number of daily infections was 23,418 – on August 13, 2021. As Omikron is four times more infectious, he estimates that it could be as high as 93,672 cases per day. However, there are significantly more vaccinations available to tackle this wave than the previous one, so the predicted number of infections is likely to drop to around 50,000 a day.

To stop numbers going beyond 50,000, the state must have supporting factors including concentrated virus control measures, get 50 million people vaccinated with three doses, and people must maintain good hygiene.

Meanwhile, during the third wave of Delta outbreaks, the mortality rate was 1 per cent, while Omicron deaths are estimated at 0.2 per cent since its severity is five times lesser.

However, there are important variables: the number of beds in the main hospital. Patients with mild symptoms should be placed in a field hospital and isolated at home.​ The right management will keep the death rate even lower, he said.

Published : February 23, 2022

By : THE NATION