Coronavirus Chronicle in Moldova: Is the Wave Going Down?

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The morbidity rate is decreasing. In many regions, the red hazard code and part of the restrictions have already been canceled. Experts hope that by spring the epidemic situation in the country can stabilize
The World Health Organization reports a significant decrease in the number of COVID-19 infections worldwide. On February 7-13, the number of new cases decreased to about 16 million, which is 19% less than a week before. At the same time, mortality increased by 4% – 74.5 thousand people died. Preliminary data suggest that the peak of infections for the entire pandemic occurred in the last week of January – more than 22 million people fell ill. Since February, there has been an incidence decrease. Last week, the number of new coronavirus cases dropped in almost all regions except East Asia and Oceania. To date, COVID-19 has been diagnosed in 420.6 million people, of which 5.88 million have died. Europe accounts for about 60% of all new cases. According to WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge, over the past two weeks in 6 countries of the region – Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Russia and Ukraine – the number of COVID-19 cases has increased by more than 2 times. He warned that now is not the time to cancel the measures that have proven their efficiency, since the new type of coronavirus remains lethal – more than 25 thousand residents of the region have died in the past week alone.  The increase in morbidity among medical workers is another problem: the infection rate among medical staff increased from 30 thousand at the end of 2021 to 50 thousand a month later. “Amid increasing needs for medical care, the number of personnel capable of providing this assistance has decreased, and the risk of infection transmission in medical institutions has significantly increased, which complicates the current situation even more,” Dr. Kluge stresses. According to him, vaccination is still the best means of protection against the severe course of illness and death. “I call on national governments, health authorities and relevant partners to carefully analyze the reasons leading to low demand for vaccines and their rejection by the population at the local level, and develop measures adapted to local needs in order to urgently increase vaccination rates, based on data on the specifics of local conditions,” the WHO expert said. In Moldova, the COVID-19 wave has gone down. New cases over the past few days are below 2,000 per day. In total, a new variant of coronavirus was confirmed in Moldova in 490.8 thousand people, of whom more than 11 thousand died. Now 23.5 thousand people are ill, of whom 1776 are hospitalized in medical institutions. 122 people are in critical condition, 12 patients are on ALV. The red level of epidemic danger was canceled to introduce an orange one in half of the country’s regions. Early this week, the National Emergency Commission for Public Health has already lifted a number of restrictions and introduced differentiated protection measures for each individual community, depending on the incidence rates. In particular, since February 16, citizens are no longer required to show a COVID certificate to enter shopping centers and stores. Depending on the level of epidemiological danger, the certificate is still needed for access to public catering establishments and those where private or sporting events are held, cultural institutions and meetings. In the communities with green and yellow code, people are returning to normal work, while in those with an orange and red code differentiated schedules and remote work are still recommended. In addition, in red-code settlements, universities will continue online studies. Private events, such as weddings, baptisms, memorial services, are prohibited only if code is red. “If this downward trend continues and we have fewer cases of infection, then we will be able to return to normality. Already half of the regions have moved from the red level to the orange one. We really hope that in the spring our country will have a green code, and we will be able to return to the rhythm of normal life,” Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said this Wednesday. Due to the decreasing incidence rate, nine medical centers for COVID-19 patients have been closed. However, intensive care units remain overcrowded, as there are still many severe and critical cases requiring intensive care. Most intensive care patients suffer from chronic diseases and have not been vaccinated against coronavirus. The national level of immunization in Moldova is still quite low. 31% are covered by one dose of the vaccine and about 29% are covered by the full scheme. The highest level of vaccination was registered in Chisinau (45%) and Soroca (33%), and the lowest coverage – in the ATO Gagauzia (18%), Singerei and Leova (20% each). The Moldovan and international experts give quite optimistic forecasts regarding the further pandemic. There is reason to believe that the epidemic situation in the country will have finally stabilized by spring.