Pandemic not over, but risks reduced: Experts
Fulya Soybaş - ISTANBUL
The coronavirus pandemic is not totally over, but risks of infections and deaths have reduced, a prominent Turkish physician said on April 12.
“The pandemic is not over yet. But we are at the end of the tunnel,” said Tevfik Özlü, a professor from the Health Ministry’s Coronavirus Science Board.
Reminding that life has turned back to normal across the globe, but especially in Europe, Özlü said that the number of infections today is in no comparison with the ones in 2020 and 2021.
In his recent Twitter message on April 10, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca posted the decline in coronavirus cases, saying humorously, “We are going back to the days when you did not know Fahrettin Koca. The case count of today is 5,609.”
Özlü agreed with the minister that the COVID-19 virus has become ordinary like flu, cold and rheum.
“We were waiting for this virus to convert into an epidemic. We see this becoming real after two years,” Özlü said. “The pandemic has become less threatening.”
When asked how the table has turned in two years, the professor mainly pointed out the increase in the number of people inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines.
Nevertheless, he warned those over the age of 65 and with chronic diseases to be aware of the virus in any case and put on face masks.
After Omicron, another variant of the coronavirus, XE, has emerged across the globe. When asked if people should panic, microbiologist Tutku Taşkınoğlu directly replied, “No.”
“Omicron was a breaking point of the virus’ mutation. There is a very small probability that a new variant will emerge in the next 12 months,” he said. “The good news is that we will be able to guess how the COVID-19 will mutate and take measures accordingly.”
One other expert hinting that the pandemic is “going to be over” is Derya Unutmaz, a Turkish professor in the United States.
“The fatal impact of the virus is declining, and this is the main reason that the pandemic is coming toward the end,” the professor said.
According to Unutmaz, the world suffering from the pandemic for the last two years will enter a new “endemic era” in the coming two months.
“If a new variant does not emerge, though I think the probability is low, this summer will be the summer people are looking for,” Unutmaz noted.