June 14, 2024

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How about those countries that “Coexisting with COVID-19” now?

How about those countries that “Coexisting with COVID-19” now?


How about those countries that “Coexisting with COVID-19” now?  After changing the epidemic prevention strategy, the number of confirmed cases in many countries has surged?


“Coexisting” or “clearing”? Nearly two years after the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, more and more countries are making a choice between these two paths.


New Zealand and Vietnam, once known for their insistence on “completely eliminating the COVID-19”, implemented the “Coexisting with the virus” strategy in October.


Australia is also in the “great reversal”. It has been evaluated by the BBC and other media as the country with the longest blockade and strictest border control in the world. On November 1, local time, the Australian border, which had been closed for nearly 19 months, reopened, and the first international flight landed in Sydney.


Portugal has downgraded the COVID-19 to a “endemic disease”, and sports stadiums no longer have attendance. France and Italy almost let go of control, and bars and theaters are crowded with people. Different from the British “full freedom” model, France, Italy and Portugal require people to use vaccine passports when participating in mass gatherings.


People in many places around the world are taking vacations, visiting relatives, and resuming business travel. As of November 1, the number of countries and regions recognized by Thailand as “Immigration Free of Quarantine” has increased to 63. “This is the largest reopening of the country’s gates in the Asia-Pacific region.” Agence France-Presse commented.


However, “Coexisting” is not easy. The World Health Organization (WHO) said on October 28 that the number of confirmed cases and deaths from COVID-19s worldwide has rebounded for the first time in nearly two months, and more than half of the new cases have come from large open European regions.


The “7-day average infection rate”, an important indicator for monitoring the epidemic in Britain and Germany, reached its highest value since July around October 23. 

Experts from the German Association of Intensive Care Medicine warned that “the real fourth wave of the epidemic has begun and is accelerating.”


In Singapore, where both Coexisting and zero-clearing factions are paying attention, the epidemic has undergone dramatic changes. “Singapore has the highest vaccination rate in Asia, so it is conditionally the first to gradually lift the ban. However, like Israel, the levee for epidemic prevention collapsed soon after it opened.” The British “The Economist” magazine described it.  Currently, Singapore is expanding the capacity of COVID-19 treatment facilities from the current nearly 2,000 beds to 4,000.


The South China Morning Post commented that the world has to learn to coexist with the new coronavirus in a rational way. In this process, some countries paid a “human price” for it.


“We refer to the experience of Singapore and others to learn how to strike a balance between opening up and preventing out-of-control.” The New York Times said.




Various forms of “Coexisting with viruses”


From November 1, South Korea officially launched the “Coexisting with the COVID-19” model, which will return to normal life in three steps. By the third step, the restrictions on private gatherings will be completely lifted and normal life will be fully restored.


Some commentators said that another country “lays flat”. However, under closer examination, the “postures” of countries to relax epidemic prevention are significantly different.


Britain is the earliest proponent and practitioner of “Coexisting with the virus”. As early as 2020, the country once hoped to form an “immune barrier” through natural infection, that is, neither actively preventing epidemics nor actively detecting potential infections.

By July 19 this year, although opinion polls showed that the public was more inclined to gradually reopen, when the daily infection rate remained high, the United Kingdom had cancelled almost all epidemic prevention restrictions: masks were not mandatory; assembly restrictions were lifted, One meter social distance; immigrants do not need to be quarantined for 14 days.


There are also Norway and Denmark in the “Great Unblocking” camp. At 16:00 on September 25, Norway fully restarted social and economic activities. The country’s existing anti-epidemic measures are that infected persons need to be isolated and treated, and inbound passengers from epidemic hot areas need to be quarantined.


Among Asian countries, Singapore was the first to propose “Coexisting”. Its strategy borrowed from the words of the country’s Minister of Health, Wang Yikang, as “unique, unique in that it looks “unclear” and “undecided”.” In August, the country relaxed its anti-epidemic measures.

In September, as the number of confirmed cases doubled every 8 to 10 days, Singapore tightened control over the number of social gatherings and dine-in, and set home office as the “benchmark work model”. The stable epidemic phase originally scheduled to end on October 24 was extended to November 21.


Singapore’s “retraction, retraction, and release” of epidemic prevention measures draw lessons from Israel’s experience. In February 2021, Israel relaxed its epidemic prevention measures. In June, because the number of confirmed cases in a single day remained below 20, the Green Pass system was cancelled , allowing people to not wear masks in public places.

Soon after, the Israeli government was forced to restart the green pass system in July due to over 100 confirmed cases in a single day.


Romania also followed the copy homework. The country learns from Singapore and uses the number of severe cases and the rate of severe cases as the main detection indicators. The country’s 2,000 intensive care beds are full, and the first 50 critically ill patients have been transferred to Hungary and Poland. On October 25th, Romania tightened its epidemic prevention and re-implemented regulations such as “mandatory wearing of masks in outdoor public places”.


Australia is taking a “two-lane road”. US Cable News Network (CNN) reported, Canberra and other places still in the “blockade”, New South Wales has become “safe Coexisting” experimental field.


More countries are stop-and-go. On October 6, Auckland, New Zealand began to relax control measures in stages. Due to the rapid increase in the number of newly diagnosed cases, the country announced the postponement of school reopening, and Auckland continued to maintain its current epidemic prevention level for a week.


Malaysia, which announced the “Coexisting” strategy in February, opened “interstate travel” in all regions on November 1. The country’s Prime Minister Sabri promised that even if the number of new diagnoses rises, there will be no nationwide lockdown, but it may take control measures for the hot spots of the epidemic.


How about those countries that "Coexisting with COVID-19" now?According to Singapore’s existing epidemic prevention measures, people must complete two doses of vaccination before they can enter public places such as shopping malls. /Taiwan “Central News Agency”






The inescapable “epidemic outbreak”?


Regardless of the pace of “Coexisting”, after changing the epidemic prevention strategy, the number of confirmed cases has increased sharply in many countries.


“Data across Europe is rising.” Reuters reported that on October 30, local time, France had more than 7,000 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in a single day, and an average of 5,669 new cases were added every day in the last 7 days, all for more than a month. The highest record ever. The German government is ready to welcome the rise in confirmed cases for all age groups in the country and warns that the situation may worsen as winter approaches.


The European “local” news website reported that there may be two main reasons for the rebound of the epidemic. One is that the colder weather has caused people to move more social activities indoors, and the other is that more and more people have completed the full course of COVID-19 vaccination for more than 6 months. , The protective effect of the vaccine decreases.


On the day the “unblocking” was announced, the Governor of New South Wales, Australia, warned that the number of new confirmed cases in the state may increase in the future.


On October 27, there were 5,324 new cases in Singapore’s single-day report. This is the highest record of the country’s COVID-19 epidemic so far. This was followed by an increase in the number of severe cases, and the utilization rate of intensive care beds once exceeded 50%. At present, the United States has raised Singapore’s tourism alert to the highest level, saying that “500 people in the new country have been infected for every 100,000 inhabitants in the past 28 days.”


Singapore media reported that the country’s vaccination rate has exceeded 85%, and those who “have no contraindications but insist on not being vaccinated” are responsible for the worsening of the epidemic. Singapore has introduced a “differential treatment” policy, stating that from October 13th, people who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to eat in or enter shopping malls and scenic spots.


People are not actively vaccinating, but Vietnam, Romania, Latvia, etc., where the epidemic is in emergency, have common points. Latvia was the first country to experiment with the “tourism bubble”. In May 2021, the bubble was opened between Lithuania and Estonia.

People from the three countries can travel freely through the tourist bubble without isolation. However, due to the low vaccination rate, Latvia implemented a nationwide blockade from October 21 to November 15.


Regarding “when will China completely open up”, it may also be related to the vaccination rate. “Southern Weekend” exclusive interview Zhong Nanshan wrote, “The vast majority of people have been vaccinated, at least 80% or even more than 85%. I estimate that by the end of 2021 it will be more than 80%.”


Some countries also believe that the rebound of the epidemic stems from “society insensitivity to the virus” (Covid-naive Societies) . Huang Xuncai, the Minister of Finance of Singapore and the head of the New Coronavirus Working Group, said that Singapore, New Zealand and Australia adhere to the “zero-clearing policy” and the natural infection rate of the people is relatively low. “Once it reopens, more social interactions will take place. Considering the high spread of the Delta mutant strain itself, there will be a large cluster of epidemics.”


“For other countries that have never seen a large-scale outbreak and want to reopen, Singapore’s experience is thought-provoking…. People are confused about what conditions are needed for reopening if the vaccination rate is reached.” The New York Times “Reported.


How about those countries that "Coexisting with COVID-19" now?After 18 months of strict lockdown, Thailand has reopened its borders to tourists from more than 60 “low-risk” countries or regions who have been vaccinated. /EPA


Britain is also thinking about these issues.

The Wall Street Journal described Britain’s “lying and flat Coexisting” as “a huge epidemiological experiment has been carried out”. However, the BBC believes that compared with most Western European countries, the UK lifted various epidemic prevention measures earlier. Since then, the epidemic prevention policy has not changed, but the epidemic data has experienced ups and downs.


The BBC cited a survey conducted by Imperial College London, showing that Sweden and the Netherlands have a lower rate of wearing masks, but the number of diagnoses is significantly less than that of the United Kingdom. After the ban was fully lifted on July 19, Britain ushered in the European Cup, but the number of epidemics dropped continuously.

The rate of wearing masks indoors in Scotland is relatively high, but the number of people admitted to hospitals suddenly increased in early October. This may indicate that there are many variables in the spread of the new coronavirus, and any single factor cannot be examined independently.


The United Kingdom leads the world in the number of vaccinations. 80% of people over 12 years of age have completed the vaccination, and the “intensified injection” program began on September 16. “Because of the vaccine, the probability of severe hospitalization for confirmed cases in the UK is much lower, but the number of confirmed cases is increasing.” The Guardian quoted multiple sources as saying that the UK epidemic data is fluctuating and unpredictable.


How about those countries that "Coexisting with COVID-19" now?
The number of new infections per day in the UK. /Daily Mail



“There is uncertainty in the volatility of the epidemic in the UK.” Compared to the medical and health professionals’ strong call for contraction and prevention, British Prime Minister Johnson insisted that “it is much better now than 12 months ago.” The severe illness and death rate did not increase, and hospitalization The rate has dropped significantly, and there has been no run on the medical system, and the implementation of a new round of “city closure” measures is not considered for the time being.


“When the epidemic data is growing rapidly, wearing a mask is really important.” A few days ago, Ali Mokdad, a professor at the Institute of Population Health of the University of Washington and the chief strategy officer of population health, raised his forecast of COVID-19 deaths in the United States.

According to its model, by February 1, 2022, the cumulative number of deaths from the COVID-19 in the United States is approximately 828,000. If 95% of Americans wear masks from now on, at least 56,000 deaths can be avoided by then.


Germany has officially announced that measures such as wearing masks and restricting indoor activities for unvaccinated persons will continue until the spring of 2022. And Singapore’s relevant epidemic prevention measures may continue until 2024.






The future is unknowable


The people of New Zealand seem to have accepted the long-term possibility of restrictions. In a survey of more than 1,800 people commissioned by the government, 90% of the respondents said that they did not expect their lives to return to normal after vaccination, partly because “questions about the virus are still lingering.”


For example, various media reports indicate: “Scientists do not fully understand the COVID-19.”


More and more scientists predict that the new coronavirus will become flu. They believe that the virus mutation will not stop, but this does not mean that the mutant strain will become stronger. On the contrary, the new coronavirus will follow the evolution of the coronavirus. Slowly, it may cause symptoms such as cough and fever after infection, but it will not cause large-scale hospitalization or death.


Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert of Oxford University, who co-led the development of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, pointed out in a seminar at the Royal Society of Medicine: “The COVID-19 virus is unlikely to mutate into a more deadly variant. When the virus spreads through the population. At times, lethality tends to decrease. For no reason, we will encounter a more lethal version.”


Eugene Koonin, a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States, gave his personal opinion when attending an academic conference in early October: The global delta variant is the peak of the development of the new coronavirus epidemic, and it is likely to become the last variant of the virus .


Of course there are also “dissidents.” Following the Delta, many countries and regions have reported new “Du Wang”, such as lambda (the Lambda) , Mu mutants and so on. On October 22, the British health department announced that a mutant strain of the COVID-19 virus AY.4.2 had appeared in the country. This is a subtype of the Delta mutant strain, which spreads 10% faster. The British epidemic prevention department believes that about 6% of the country’s current cases are caused by AY.4.2. Denmark, Germany, Israel, the United States, Canada and Japan have also reported.


Another important question is, “How long can the immunity induced by vaccination and the effect of preventing severe illness last.” The South China Morning Post pointed out. Israel used to be the country with the most vaccinated people in the world. Local studies have found that the ineffectiveness of vaccine protection is the reason for the sudden increase in the country’s infection rate this spring. After the elderly population was vaccinated with booster, the number of confirmed cases in the country began to be flat.


On September 19-25, Malaysia had 620 deaths from the COVID-19, and 49% of them had received at least one dose of the vaccine. “Sin Chew Daily” said this is not optimistic data.


More urgently, most developing countries are facing an increase in the number of infections and a shortage of vaccines. Our World in Data data shows that only 2% of the population in low-income countries are currently vaccinated-this is an increase of 1% from July.


“The speed of our inoculation of the world has slowed down.” Eric Topol, an expert in molecular medicine and founder of the Scripps Research Institute, an independent North American scientific research institution, believes that the worst case may “change the whole situation” and let us “return to the square.” The virus replicates rapidly, leading to more and more dangerous mutant strains…


The WHO has decided to strive to achieve a vaccination rate of at least 40% in all countries by the end of 2021. “The goal is realistic, but it requires cooperation from all countries. No country can end the epidemic in isolation.”


“We expect that the spread of the new coronavirus will never be zero.” Ali Mokdad said that efforts to prevent death and infection will continue for several years. According to the New York Times, this means wearing masks and vaccinations seasonally, and continuously improving the ventilation of key public places such as transportation hubs.


“Don’t wait for the perfect conditions to reopen.” Sarah Chan, a Singaporean who works in business development, recently went to Italy to visit her husband’s family. She had a brief experience of normal life. “You don’t need to wear a mask outdoors. People who have been vaccinated can gather together. Both my son and I can eat in restaurants. We sway to music. But in Singapore, restaurants are forbidden to play music because it may contribute to the spread of the virus. “


“The time in Italy made me very moved. It was almost a normal life.” She said, “I really miss that feeling.”


The Singaporean commentator pointed out that at this stage, whether it is strictly preventing the epidemic or seeking openness, there are victims, and the people will complain. “We still can’t fight the virus, and we haven’t found the best way to stop losses acceptable to society.”









1.Countries are reopening borders. But China isn’t ready to live with the coronavirus. The Washington Post

2.The world will have to learn to live with Covid-19 in a rational way. SCMP

3.How Will We Live if Covid Is Here to Stay?. The New York Times

4.Covid live: AY.4.2 strain of Delta variant under investigation in UK – as it happened. The Guardian

5.As Asia ‘lives with covid-19’, media may need to be less adversarial. APR

6.Moscow locks down as Russian COVID-19 deaths surge to new highs. Reuters

7. Coexisting with the virus, Singapore becomes a negative teaching material. Sin Chew Daily

How about those countries that “Coexisting with COVID-19” now? 

(source:internet, reference only)

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