| 7 December 2023, Thursday |

Abyad warns: Corona story… not over yet.

A series of new tweets published by the director of Rafic Hariri University Hospital, Firas Abyad, on his Twitter account, where he considered that “there are important lessons that we must learn from the human tragedy that is now taking place in India,” noting that “this epidemic is not related only to a virus or its strains. The novelty and the collective and individual response to the infection play an important role in dictating the results, whether they are good or bad, and there are some observations:

Corona comes as a wave, but sometimes it is a tsunami. Lax public health measures and reckless individual behavior allow a wild mutant to spread in society and move to other countries. Strict border control with mandatory quarantine is a measure that has proven effective in limiting the spread of the virus.

– It is unlikely that we will know early when the new strain arrives in Lebanon. The capabilities of testing the genetic sequences for corona mutants are still lacking, and only few samples are tested abroad. The fluctuating figures for the number of daily checks reflect the fact that coronavirus testing is voluntary. This does not help in early containment.

Despite previous high infection rates, the majority in India were vulnerable to the new wave. Immunity from previous infections does not last for long, and low vaccination rates do not help in achieving the desired community immunity. Compared to India, the current immunization status in Lebanon is not better.

– India has a good health system, but the tidal wave led to the near collapse of this system, and the death rate rose mainly due to the lack of care beds and oxygen. Here, we were almost faced with a similar situation, but we came back from the edge of the abyss. Current immunity may not protect us if the strain arrives, is the health system prepared better than before?

And Abyad continued: “Indian officials declared victory over Corona before this wave, which led to misleading the public. People eager to resume normal activities were happy with this announcement, and the wave was preceded by very large social, political or religious gatherings. This is a cautionary tale. Community leaders must fulfill their responsibilities.”

He said: “In short, we must not take the improvement in the Corona numbers for granted. Efforts should focus on preventing the transmission of the new strain, and raising the hospital’s readiness for what may happen,” indicating that “more vaccines will arrive soon, and those who the vaccines are offered to them should not hesitate, as it is clear that the Corona story is not over yet.”