22.02.2021 change 22.02.2021

Infections not dropping, but a decrease in the number of deaths possible, says expert

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The number of people hospitalised and those dying from COVID-19 may drop faster thanks to vaccination of the elderly, according to forecasts by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling at the University of Warsaw.

The optimistic news comes despite Minister of Health Adam Niedzielski saying that the daily number of infected people is several hundred higher than a week ago. 

Dr. Franciszek Rakowski from the university’s Epidemiological Model team said: “The easing of the restrictions has stopped the downward trend and, for the time being, have resulted in a slight increase in the number of reported cases.”

He added however that the ICM UW forecast does not show a significant infection rate increase.

He said: “Our infection forecast should be treated as an optimistic, lower limit of what can happen,” adding that the ICM UW forecasts do not yet take into account the spread model of the UK variant of the coronavirus.

He said: “The UK variant is more infectious than the previous one. An increase in its share in infections will certainly affect the increase in the number of infections.”

He continued: “Although the number of identified cases will not decrease quickly, the proportion of deaths will decrease. For now, vaccinations only slightly reduce the number of new cases, but they do reduce the number of hospitalised people and deaths due to COVID-19."

Rakowski, the reduction is related to the government's vaccination strategy, according to which the elderly are vaccinated first as they have smaller social networks.

He said: “The epidemic will remain below 10,000 reported cases per day. And if there are more infections, I think the government will probably consider new restrictions or resume the previous ones. It is clear that when we exceed 10,000 cases per day, the health service begins to limp and generates an excess number of deaths."

PAP - Science in Poland, Ludwika Tomala

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