“There are two reasons for this – they have been working to eradicate the virus, which was probably a sensible policy in the spring of 2020. But in a situation where we already have vaccinations, in my opinion, it is not a very sensible policy.“Said the biochemist.
Listen to a special edition of the show with Jan Konvalinka and Petr Smejkal
“Second, we have many times more infectious versions of a virus called omicron. And it has measles-like infectiousness, if I’m not mistaken. Which is pretty scary and basically unstoppable,” says Konvalinka, who also heads the research group at the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences.
He recalls that these Asian countries vaccinate with a “worse” substance, not those that we call mRNA vaccines. “They mostly used a Chinese vaccine, which is just less effective.”
IKEM’s chief epidemiologist, Petr Smejkal, adds Konvalinka: “Hong Kong is a bit specific, as citizens’ distrust of the Chinese government would also play a role there.”
Thus, the Chinese recommendations have been particularly mistrusted by the elderly citizens of Hong Kong. “And as we know, older people are at risk. So we see that omicron kills there too,” Smejkal recalls.
China chose a strategy of elimination early on, and where the virus emerged people were isolated – and that was millions of people. “Now (the Chinese procedure) is already experiencing severe skepticism, because above all the infectivity of the omicron is such that you do not look at it. The virus will spread even when everyone is closed.”
And then when a covid pandemic “sits down” on an unvaccinated population that has yet to encounter the virus, the epidemiologist says it will start to explode.
“But that’s not to say that this strategy wasn’t justified initially with less infectious variants. But now it’s different – in fact, everything is a bit different,” adds Smejkal.
The long covid is a big scarecrow
The contagious, milder variant of omicron has caused the world to pause. But the scarecrow remains the so-called long covid, for which there is no single remedy, it cures its symptoms.
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“This means that if someone is short of breath for a long time, inhaled corticosteroids, for example, will help – which is a general treatment for many other shortness of breath conditions,” explains the epidemiologist.
“But it is not a specific treatment for long covids. We are still groping for a long time. We know that it probably affects a lot more people than we think, ”he recalls, adding that doctors have still a lot of work to do to determine whether or not someone who is not feeling well has long covid.
“The most serious causes seem to be neurological and respiratory. This means shortness of breath, fatigue and neurological problems, which is not only a loss of smell. It is problems with concentration. These are children who have gone to circles – and suddenly they can’t anymore. It takes time, but it would be nice if we focused on them,” Smejkal thinks.
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“Foreign studies show that up to 10% of people may have long covid, possibly more in children and adolescents, but that’s not exactly what anyone will say yet. Even the 10% – c is a pretty crazy number,” he says.
While 430 million people have recovered from Covid globally, up to 43 million people may have subsequent health problems.
“These are hard numbers, the real numbers are four to five times higher – both for the number of patients and victims. Beware, the coronavirus appears to have killed around 20 million people on the planet so far. Which makes it one of the biggest deadliest epidemics in history,” adds biochemist Konvalinka.
“So that would mean we have tens of millions of people at risk of long-term consequences. So I would be more afraid of neurological diseases. Because the information about how people lose their memory, they lose their focus – there are too many of them to just trivialize them,” adds biochemist Konvalinka.
You can find the whole Personality Plus special with Jan Konvalinka and Petr Smejkal in the audio. asked Barbora Tachecí.
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