Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Unprecedented Morbidity Increase

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Omicron has got to our country: almost every day there is another anti-record in the number of new cases. The explosive increase in morbidity puts a powerful pressure on the health care system
Since the beginning of the year, the incidence of a new type of coronavirus has been increasing and has reached extremes. If at the end of December, the daily increase in new cases barely reached the millionth mark, at the end of January it reached the level of 3.5-3.8 million cases per day. In fact, every day the number of infected with COVID-19 increases by 10%. The UN called COVID-19 the first of five threats to the world in 2022. In total, 363.5 million people have been diagnosed with coronavirus worldwide, of which 5.65 million have died. The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Ahdanom Ghebreyesus, reported on the critical stage of the pandemic. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for the third year, and we are at a critical stage. We must work together to bring the acute phase of this pandemic to an end. We cannot allow it to drag on, slipping into panic or neglect. We have all the tools to put an end to the acute phase of this pandemic. But we must use them fairly and reasonably,” the head of the WHO stressed. In particular, we are talking about the even distribution of vaccines. Ghebreyesus draws attention to the fact that 1 billion doses of vaccines have already been delivered within the framework of the COVAX vaccine fair distribution program, but the vaccination rates in all countries are still far from perfect. 34 countries have so far failed to vaccinate even 10% of their population, and 86 countries have vaccinated less than 40%. Nonetheless, WHO does not rule out that after the Omicron wave, the pandemic will decline. Experts say that when the current wave subsides, global immunity will develop for a while – due to vaccination or immunity after infection. Therefore, according to WHO Director for the European region Hans Kluge, the virus may return at the end of the year, but the pandemic may not. These forecasts are confirmed by data from the WHO regional office in Africa, where the number of COVID-19 cases has dropped sharply, and mortality has decreased for the first time since the fourth wave with the dominant Omicron reached its peak. In addition, a fairly sharp decrease in the incidence is observed in some parts of the United States. Moldova also got covered by the Omicron wave. Almost every day marks another anti-record in the number of new cases. At the same time, the increase in cases is abrupt. On Tuesday the number of cases reached 5,138 people, but 6199 infected people were detected yesterday. Health Minister Ala Nemerenco warns that these numbers are not the limit: the daily number of COVID-19 cases may reach 10,000. A red level of epidemiological danger has been introduced throughout the country. The National Emergency Commission on Public Health has adopted a new resolution in connection with the infection increase. From Monday, all schools will switch to online learning mode for two weeks. The COVID certificate becomes mandatory for most types of activities: it must be presented at the entrance to shopping malls, restaurants, cafes, as well as other indoor public places. In addition, the number of people to enter shopping malls together will be reduced from 3 to 2, private events are prohibited. Interior Minister Ana Revenco said that the Ministry will take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Police, Carabinieri, and border police units have been mobilized. “We have prepared an action plan, especially for rush hours. We have requested a doubling of patrol groups, particularly, in crowded places. If the rules are not followed, we will have to impose fines. We want to have no reason to enforce them, so first of all preventive visits will be organized,” stressed Ana Revenco. The explosive increase in morbidity is putting a powerful pressure on the healthcare system. There are not enough beds in hospitals, especially in children’s departments. In addition, Omicron is rapidly spreading even among vaccinated medical personnel. On Tuesday, more than 500 health workers fell ill. If about 200 people get isolated every day, the problem will not be the beds for patients, but a real shortage of medical staff to provide assistance. The only hope left is that the peak of the Omicron wave will decline as sharply as it accrued, and the healthcare system will withstand its pressure.