Main risks of omicron spread is overburden of hospitals and "paralysis'' of public life - Perevoscikovs

  • 2022-01-11
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - There are two main risks association with the spread of the Covid-19 omicron variant - the overburden of hospitals due to unvaccinated seniors, as well as the ''paralysis'' of public life, Jurijs Perevoscikovs, director of the Infectious Diseases Risk Analysis and Prevention Department at the Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), said during a meeting today with the Saeima's Defense, Interior Affairs and Corruption Prevention Committee.

In his view, the first risk is that unvaccinated seniors are at high risk of being hospitalized, which could lead to an overburden of hospitals.

Secondly, based on the experience of other European countries, there is an even greater risk that people will be able to go on sick-leave if they become ill, but perhaps with light symptoms.

This means that other workers will have a heavier workload and in some sectors there may be a "paralysis" of work.

"It would not be good if there were no drivers on public transport and people could no longer go to work, while mothers were forced to stay at home and take care of sick children. In my opinion, this is a greater risk with omicron than talking about the severity of the disease," Perevoscikovs said.

The specialist also reminded committee members of the importance of vaccination in lessening the pandemic. People who have had at least two vaccine shots get a 50-70 percent protective effect against hospitalization. If a booster shot has been obtained, this protective effect is close to 90 percent. "This is very important when assessing the impact of the virus on public health," Perevoscikovs added.