Thailand’s Economic Recovery Depends On Ability To Ride Out Endemic Waves

Thailand’s Economic Recovery Depends On Ability To Ride Out Endemic Waves
Thai Business Box.

Thailand’s Economic Recovery Depends On Ability To Ride Out Endemic Waves
The idea of herd immunity, which was the prevalent view on how the pandemic will end and seemed so achievable initially, is now becoming an almost impossibility.

Herd immunity is the point when the coronavirus lacks enough hosts to spread easily  but experts now say that new contagious variants are spreading too easily and quickly while vaccinations are happening too slowly for herd immunity to be reached any time soon.

That means the virus will continue to find enough hosts to infect to become an ever-present threat and is on its way to becoming endemic.

This is in line with what Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla has said “ The world will return to normal life as Covid-19 will end in a year” However, he added further “I don’t think that this means that the variants will not continue coming, and I don’t think that this means that we should be able to live our lives without having vaccinations.”

Dr. David Heymann, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said “While the outbreak in India is capturing the most attention, the pervasive reach of the virus means that the likelihood is growing that it will persist in most parts of the world. As more people contract the virus, developing some level of immunity, and the pace of vaccinations accelerates, future outbreaks won’t be on the scale of those devastating India and Brazil. Smaller outbreaks that are less deadly but a constant threat should be expected.”

Simply put, if a pandemic can be compared to a tsunami, then one would expect to see smaller waves of outbreaks in an endemic.

A disease outbreak that is limited to certain areas in a given time, and the rate of disease spread, severity and transmission can be estimated beforehand represents an endemic and this is the stage when WHO and other health bodies say the population needs to learn to live with the virus.

Although the bad news is that the virus may never ever go away, the good news is that the virus becomes less threatening over time, while endemicity ascertains a certain level of predictability.

The tsunami-like pandemic devastated Thai economy, with incessant nationwide lockdowns put in place to control transmissions and cases. Reaching endemicity quicker will help medical experts and authorities plan disease control better for future smaller outbreaks and waves of infections.

The next waves may be smaller but if not properly predicted, detected and controlled can still be disruptive to the country’s economy. 

Knowing and being able to predict the next outbreaks will contribute significantly towards controlling targeted areas wherever the outbreak pops up and the country can move away from nationwide lockdowns.

Furthermore, as we move into the future there’s a possibility of seeing more mutations coming up, the current vaccines may be upgraded, or subject to changes, which could help them offer more protection and efficacy than we currently have, therefore our policy makers need to procure these upgraded versions in advance to make sure the population are provided with peak protection and limit COVID from spreading.

Policy makers in our country need to incorporate this latest thinking into their Covid-19 management planning and place greater emphasis on transitioning from a pandemic to an endemic instead of trying for a zero-COVID-policy. 
If the country is prepared and can ride out the COVID waves efficiently, the disruption to the economy will be minimal which would pave for a smoother economic recovery for Thailand.

By - Thai Business Box.