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30th Mar 2022

WHO lays out three possible scenarios for how Covid could evolve this year

Stephen Porzio

They include a best-case, worse-case and most-likely scenario.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has laid out three possible scenarios for how Covid-19 could evolve in 2022.

During a press conference on Wednesday, the WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the health organisation has updated its Strategic Preparedness, Readiness and Response Plan for the virus.

Stating that the report outlines three potential changes to Covid this year, he broke them down into a best-case, worse-case and most-likely scenario.

Based on what is known about the virus now, the Director General said the most-likely scenario is that the virus continues to evolve but the severity of the disease it causes reduces over time.

This is as immunity increases due to vaccination and infection.

“Periodic spikes in cases and deaths may occur as immunity wanes, which may require periodic boosting for vulnerable populations,” Ghebreyesus explained.

The Director General explained that in the best-case scenario, we may see less severe variants emerge and that boosters or new formulations of vaccines will not be necessary.

However, the worst-case scenario would see a more virulent and highly transmissible variant emerge.

“Against this new threat, people’s protection against severe disease and death, either from prior vaccination or infection, will wane rapidly,” he added.

“Addressing this situation would require significantly altering the current vaccines and making sure they get to the people who are most vulnerable.”

On how society can move forward during the current phase of the pandemic, the Director General said this requires countries to invest in a number of areas.

These included public health intelligence, vaccination, clinical Covid care and “coordination as the response transitions from an emergency mode to long-term respiratory disease management”.

On Wednesday, the Health Protection Surveillance Centre was notified of 5,381 PCR-confirmed cases of Covid in Ireland.

In addition, on Tuesday, 7,127 people registered a positive antigen test for the virus through the HSE portal.

As of 8am on Wednesday, 1,610 Covid patients were hospitalised, of which 49 were in intensive care.

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