Scientist: Several Thousand More Lives to Be Lost if We Don’t Prepare for Fifth Wave

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Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL
Photo: Matija Habljak/PIXSELL

Calling on the government to acquaint the public with its future strategy, Đikić expressed concern about the gravity of the situation and the danger of a fifth wave of the pandemic that could claim a large number of lives in Croatia.

Đikić said that he received on a daily basis queries from concerned citizens who wonder how they should behave in the current situation, who should get a booster dose, if the booster dose protects against the Omicron variant, which tests are safe, etc.

50 COVID-related deaths a day very high figure

It is a fact that Croatia is close to the top of the EU ranking in terms of the number of coronavirus deaths per million people during the fourth wave, and this sounds the alarm and calls for urgent preventive action, he said.

“Around 50 people die of COVID-19 in Croatia on a daily basis, which is a very high figure. If we do not prepare early enough for the fifth wave, we are set to lose several thousand more citizens during the fifth wave,” he said, calling on the PM and the health minister to present accurate data and risks related to the Omicron variant and inform citizens about the government’s future strategy.

Omicron dangerous variant, booster dose contributes to protection against it

Noting that the Omicron variant is a dangerous variant, two to three times more contagious than the Delta variant, Đikić called on Plenković and Beroš to ensure fast detection and monitoring of the Omicron variant, present a strategy to prevent the fifth wave of the pandemic, and encourage all citizens above 18 to get a booster dose.

Currently available data shows that additional vaccination has a significant positive effect and contributes to protection also against the Omicron variant, Đikić said, calling for launching a more serious vaccination campaign so as to achieve a significant level of collective protection and prevent excessive pressure on hospitals and fatalities.

He also said the Health Ministry should provide accurate and clear information on testing for coronavirus, describing as wrong messages that suggest citizens should get tested for cellular immunity as the best indicator of whether one should get a booster dose.

According to available data, a cellular immunity test based on which an official decision would be made on additional vaccination has not been approved anywhere in the world, he said, but added that there have been cases of citizens testing positive for cellular immunity and being advised not to get a booster dose after which they contracted the disease.

Đikić also called on the government not to allow profiteering related to coronavirus tests, warning that wrongly interpreted COVID tests can lead citizens to believe that they are protected even though they are not, thus causing the already complex epidemiological situation to worsen.

Warning of numerous cases of scientifically unfounded statements in the media, made by individual scientists, including members of the government’s scientific council, “to which neither the Health Ministry nor the government had reacted timely”, Đikić said that this caused unnecessary damage and undermined citizens’ trust in state institutions.

“Respond competently, clearly, and timely to scientifically unfounded statements in the media,” he said.

For all you need to know about coronavirus specific to Croatia, make sure to bookmark our dedicated section and select your preferred language if it isn’t English.


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