Many countries are easing lockdown measures now that they’re ‘over the peak’ of Covid-19. In Thailand, we’ve been lucky: our peak was just a small bump compared to the high levels of infection seen elsewhere. But as people return to restaurants and places of work, worship and commerce, what might we expect to happen next?
The optimistic view is that there’s less virus around now and the combination of facemasks, distancing, hand hygiene and contact tracing (and testing) by public health workers will control the situation. A pessimist might counter that if those measures weren’t sufficient the first time around why would they be successful now?
The arrival of a vaccine still seems a long way off, so herd immunity or the sophisticated form of hiding known as ‘lockdown’ are the only options available to us. Herd immunity is a situation where a virus dies out because a lot of people are already immune to it. With this virus it is thought that at least 60% of the population need to have been infected before we have herd immunity.
Calculations suggest that even in the world’s most affected nations less than 10% of the population have had the Covid-19 virus so far, so we are still a long way from safety, even putting aside the question of whether infection will provide immunity against re-infection. On a brighter note, the playing conditions have certainly changed since before the lockdowns began. Nations have now sealed their borders and although human beings have a tendency to ‘find a way’ when their freedom of movement is obstructed, the transfer of virus by people moving from one nation to another is likely to be much less now.
Also, the virus attacked Europe and North America in the cold and dark of winter. In contrast, sunnier countries have seen far fewer cases. With summertime coming to the North the virus may now transmit less easily in those countries, although we should caution that respiratory viruses in Thailand spread most easily during the rainy season…and that’s starting now.
It will be fascinating to see what happens over the next few weeks, both here and around the world, as the biggest medical experiment of all time steps further into the unknown.
Our advice is to remain on high guard (especially if you in a high-risk group), keep your distance from other people – even if you and they are wearing face masks – wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unclean hands.
The Be Well Team Hua Hin 10 May 2020