By Violet Villar / www.lawebdelasalud.com
The higher transmissibility of the variant of concern omicron has led to an unusual familiarity of the Venezuelan with this form of the virus: “Locked up by ómicron”, is already a common expression.
Even in the face of persistent symptoms, people usually decide before the doctor says so: “I have the omicron”, an affirmation that they corroborate with another expression, just as everyday: “It’s what he’s giving to everyone.”
The Dr. Julio Castro, while acknowledging that the concern variant omicron prevails in the country, clinical practice allows you to determine “that there is still some delta In Venezuela”.
He stresses that it is the same virus “but omicron is a pathogenically different disease: very respiratory tract superior; has a peak in the first three or four days and improves a lot, unlike delta that he spent 13 or 14 days; It was very severe, very pneumonic, with a lot of neurological touch…”.
The Dr. Julio Castro, Invited by the National Academy of Medicine (ANM) of Venezuela, he offered a review of the current situation and trends of the pandemic.
The specialist analyzed that after two years of the pandemic “it is time to stop and reflect on where we are and where we are going
In short, there is a meta reflection on the impact that the pandemic has had on all of us and it is important to have enough sanity to understand where we are going.
To the extent that we understand and know with a degree of certainty where we are, it will allow us to better understand the phenomenon and adjust our decisions.
The worst moment of the pandemic
Looking at the global statistics, he is conclusive: “I don’t see the numbers going down; is a epidemic from which we can already identify four great waves pandemics, in different parts of the world”.
We are, he affirmed, in the worst moment of the pandemic, with particular impact en Europe Y U.S.
Venezuela: Limitations of the PCR and rise in cases
Analyzing the official statistics of Venezuela Until January 20, 2022, there is a total accumulated record of 456,641 cases y 5,383 deaths, “which we understand has limitations due to the number of PCR tests that are done.”
The Dr. Castro analyzed that the country could be reaching the maximum capacity of PCR tests could perform per day and this diagnostic difficulty would generate underreporting and difficulty in establishing the real dynamics of virus transmissibility in the country.
The reproduction number (RT) and Venezuela has been above 1, “within a few moments for under 1, and now with the highest transmission rate since the pandemic began, it stands at 2”.
Vaccination data in Venezuela
-predominant temporary or mobile centers (33.33%) a weakness, observes the specialist, because stable and well-known centers for people should be favored.
-There is a significant number of vaccination centers that also treat patients covid-19, which goes against the regulations because the healthy patient is exposed to disease.
-According to studies and analyses, the percentage of over 18 years with a complete vaccination schedule, it is between 54% and 55%; “It remains one of the worst in the region.”
–Sinopharm (84.4%) is the most widely used vaccine in Venezuela, followed by the Sputnik (14.3%). However, around 900,000 people have received the first dose of Sputnik and they have not been able to apply the second.
Source: Talk by Dr. Julio Castro at the ANM
In Venezuela, with unofficial monitoring in the 40 hospitals most important in the country, the number of deceased increases, as well as the occupation of intensive care, from emergency and the use of ventilators to assist people with respiratory distress.
Vaccination effect and immunity
He said that international data reports that omicron It is the most important communicable disease after measles, with an index 10% and 11% higher.
However, in a positive way, from the appearance of the vaccine cases increase but not mortality.
In fact, he analyzes that recent data from Switzerland indicate that in the unvaccinated the relative risk of severe illness or death is 20 or 30 times greater: “There is no doubt; vaccines protect.
The expert analyzes that the trend is towards the decrease in pandemic waves, associated, rather than to omicron, to a sum of factors: the vaccine antibodies and also from natural disease.
He analyzes that in this perspective there are two theses associated with evolution or viral ecology; one who sees in omicron the way to a less severe disease but more transmissible, and another that is inclined (it is also the view of Dr. Castro), to understand that changes in transmissibility and pathogenicity are random and the variants, the result of this greater capacity to be transmitted: it occurred in South Africa and it arose omicron. happened in the India with delta.
Prevent people from getting infected
The Dr. Julio Castro analyzed that the vaccines prevent fatal and severe disease but not infection, so the concept of prevention it is vital.
He asks to return to a central approach: how do we prevent people from getting infected and, in this regard, “we must think about the measures known as the use of tobacco or the restriction of multitudes as a preventive way to avoid new variants”.
In the field of prevention, remember that the COVID-19 is transmitted by air, that is, small particles can remain in the environment and transmit the disease, knowledge that must be applied to improve the ventilation from schools, universities and workplaces.
Ómicron, a logistical problem
The Dr. Julio Castro Note that the variant omicron goes on to become a logistics problem in the world, because high transmissibility generates a lot sick people and people in quarantine.
“Even though we have a illness less lethal, the use of Health services is at its maximum point because the high transmissibility It generates many patients at the same time.
Notice that the Systems of health they are not made to handle epidemics, only endemics, and that is why they begin to to collapse even in developed countries.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that February will be the peak of the pandemic.
The asymmetry with which COVID-19 affects the world is another element that highlights the Dr. Castro: the rich countries, despite their record of cases, they can better face it through technology and vaccines. The same is not true in poor and middle-income countries.
By way of conclusion, he said that in a scenario of uncertainty, he recommends having an important adaptabilityunderstand that science is a changing phenomenon and act with humility, “because our dogmas collapsed”.