COVID19: Pandemic far from over

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Government lead scientist Constantinos Tsioutis warns against growing complacency the pandemic is over, following data suggesting Omicron has boosted immunity levels while causing less severe disease.

Taking to Twitter, the head of the team of scientists advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak, Tsioutis warned against jumping to conclusions proclaiming the end of the pandemic.

Tsioutis warned that a new variant of the virus could be around the corner.

“Before rushing once more to draw conclusions, relying only on inconclusive or early day data, we need to try and see the whole picture,” he tweeted.

“The high number of daily COVID-19 cases continue to disrupt our daily lives, with the positivity rate also remaining high, with hospital admission on the rise”.

The epidemiologist cautioned against arguments portraying that COVID-19 has become a mild virus similar to simple flu.

Tsioutis noted that COVID-19 still causes severe disease, with the list of people with long-COVID growing and deaths increasing.

He said it is not only the elderly that are dying, adding that even if this was the case, “the elderly also have the right to life”.

The health system has also suffered in coping with coronavirus.

“Hospitals continue to focus on patients with COVID19, due to the very large number of cases, which has come at the cost to the overall services provided”.

He argued it could be just a matter of time before the next variant of the virus makes an appearance, and “no one can guarantee that it will be ‘milder’ while most of the world remains unvaccinated”.

Referring to the new COVID-19 drugs being approved for use, Tsioutis said they would “help with fighting the pandemic, but they are not for everyone, nor do they reduce transmission”.

The chief scientist argued the driving force behind the spread of the virus is human behaviour, noting that complacency was the main reason behind coronavirus outbreaks.

“Unlocking society is part of our efforts to adapt to the new reality of the pandemic.

“This cannot be done without facing reality in a mature manner, drawing conclusions from data.”