Those who have recovered from the coronavirus may have heart and kidney problems.
On January 21, Aliaksandr Lukashenka voiced another proposal to fight the coronavirus: just infect all citizens instead of vaccination.
The zerkalo.io website studied scientific research and talked with Belarusian doctors to find out if Omicron is so harmless and whether mass infection with the virus will help get rid of the pandemic.
How severe is the illness caused by Omicron?
The omicron strain is now the dominant strain of COVID-19, according to the Harvard Medical School website. Experts see a certain danger of omicron in a calmer attitude towards the new strain due to the mild course of the disease - a rapid increase in the incidence can still lead to a high frequency of hospitalizations and an excessive burden on the healthcare system. WHO noted the ability of the strain to influence the global sanitary and epidemiological situation, classifying omicron as an “option of concern”.
However, even if you have been vaccinated and received a booster, you may still experience symptoms, but they are likely to be mild or moderate in severity. For those who are not vaccinated, the risk of severe symptoms that can be life-threatening is still significant, experts at Harvard Medical School say.
In addition, there is still the possibility of death, recalls Viktar (name changed at the request of the interlocutor - edit.), an infectious disease specialist at one of the regional hospitals.
- It is individual and depends on whether a person is vaccinated, whether they have risk factors (old age, obesity, chronic diseases), and whether they will receive the necessary medical care on time. An aged patient with a “bouquet” of chronic diseases should not be deceived by lulling single percentages. It should be understood that the calculations take into account the population as a whole: both newborns and healthy young people, and a group of vaccinated people.
It is difficult to say what the situation is specifically in Belarus with omicron, whether it is dominant, because there are no official data on our hospitals now. According to the anesthesiologist-resuscitator of one of the regional hospitals, Valiantsin (the name was changed at the request of the interlocutor -edit.), our doctors cannot say with absolute certainty that a particular patient was infected with the omicron. The fact is that strains can only be confirmed in a few laboratories throughout the country, and those tests that are done in hospitals reveal only the presence of coronavirus.
- If you get sick with COVID-19, will it help not to get sick again?
- Unfortunately no. The fact is that the immune system does respond to a COVID-19 infection by stimulating white blood cells to form antibodies that fight the infection and maintain a protective effect against reinfection. But the important thing is that this immunity is temporary: the terms are very individual and depend on the peculiarities of the formation of your immune response, says the anesthesiologist-resuscitator of the Moscow hospital Dmitry (name changed at the request of the interlocutor. - Note).
- Usually, the more severe the disease was, the stronger the immune response. But it also happens vice versa: even with a great severity of the disease, the immune response is very short. Regarding the timing, someone calls three months, someone six, and someone a year. I tell my patients that they have two or three months until their immune response really works.
Now there are a lot of cases when a person was ill with a coronavirus and became infected again, says Valiantsin. Of course, a second infection is often milder than the first, but nevertheless, there is no guarantee that you will not get infected a second time.
Aliaksei, a pulmonologist at one of the Minsk hospitals, says the same thing (name changed at the request of the interlocutor - edit.): over the past few weeks, hospitalizations of people who previously had COVID-19 have become more frequent.
Indeed, there are fewer and fewer guarantees not to be re-infected now, as more and more mutations occur. There has been an increase in reinfections with the Delta strain and an explosion in reinfection rates due to Omicron. The new strain has about 50 mutations that help it far better than other coronavirus variants at bypassing our immune defenses and causing reinfection.
Why you shouldn't strive to get infected with the coronavirus in order to gain immunity?
The tactics proposed by the Western specialist, who was not named by Aliaksandr Lukashenka, are far from “perfect”, Viktar believes. The fact is that one of the “advantages” of omicron over other strains of SARS-CoV-2 is a higher contagiousness. As a result, it spreads faster, leads to a large number of patients with COVID-19, and overwhelmed healthcare systems.
“Under such conditions, it is important to prevent the number of seriously ill patients at the peak of the wave from exceeding the number of oxygen points in hospitals. The countries that are most successful in coping with the infection pay great attention to this aspect and try to “smear” the peak of the wave in time. Hence the conclusion: the idea to let the infection take its course is fundamentally wrong. Do not forget that the avalanche growth of hospitalizations paralyzes other types of medical care: oncology, rehabilitation, and elective surgeries.
According to the expert, in order to develop herd immunity, it is better to get vaccinated, and not wait until as many people as possible get sick.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, I have not met a single patient in the hospital who, upon discharge, would prefer to undergo a second course of treatment instead of vaccination,” Viktar notes. - You can discuss this topic for a long time, repeating the hackneyed arguments of vaccine skeptics, but vaccination is the best that medicine can offer in the fight against the virus here and now.
In addition, do not forget that even after recovery, post-COVID symptoms develop. According to Valiantsin, often patients who had a coronavirus infection developed problems with the heart and kidneys. One of the complications in the heart is myocarditis or myocardial infarction, which occurred as a result of the formation of blood clots, transferred during the course of the disease. For example, a young man in his 30s has been ill with COVID-19, and then during a routine medical examination, he is diagnosed with heart rhythm disturbances (blockades). And there are a lot of such patients, the doctor assures.