A PULMONARY disease expert warned in a Facebook post today (July 14) that Omicron subvariant BA.5 is now spreading widely in the country with the increase in the number of pneumonia patients indicating that another big wave is looming, Amarin TV said.
Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs, who is based at Vichaiyut Hospital, said in his previous post shared mid-June he mentioned that doctors personally taking care of patients had seen signs of a new Covid wave emerging in Bangkok. However at that point he thought it would be a small one which would end quickly to go by the example of South Africa, the first country where Omicron mutants BA.1, BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 spread.
Yet after almost a month he has now changed his opinion and thinks the current outbreak will be as big as the one in March when Omicron subvariants BA.1 and BA.2 spread heavily in the country.
The Covid tally is now jumping sharply and shortly the number of pneumonia patients, those intubated and dying will likely increase, he added.
The most important factor is that Omicron mutant BA.5 spreads the fastest and is the easiest to catch while being best at evading immunity regardless of whether people are vaccinated or not, leading to both those vaccinated and never infected and those previously infected catching it.
The two groups hardest hit are those who have relaxed control measures and started socialising frequently and those who are now travelling more particularly during the current long holiday with this causing the infection to spread faster nationwide.
Dr. Manoon pointed out that the Public Health Ministry’s daily Covid tally is much lower than the real total because only those getting a positive result on RT-PCR are reported. The number of pneumonia patients, those intubated and the fatalities are what should be monitored.
The public was urged to sensibly protect themselves fully by wearing face masks, washing their hands often and quickly get vaccinated.
Fortunately the majority has been fully vaccinated including getting the booster jab and many have also been previously infected and upon being reinfected with BA.5 their symptoms are usually mild.
This morning the Public Health Ministry said there were 2,257 Covid cases and 28 deaths over the past 24 hours taking the cumulative confirmed total since Jan. 1 to 2,329,746 and since the start of the pandemic 4,553,181.
Today’s 28 fatalities raised the death toll to 30,935.
Another 2,120 patients were cured taking total recoveries since Jan. 1 to 2,329,561 and since the start of the pandemic 4,498,055.
Altogether 140,544,783 doses of vaccines have been administered nationwide so far.
Top: The Omicron strain of Covid-19 virus. Image: Gavi.org
Front Page: Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs. Photo: Naewna