In January-February, the number of cases of coronavirus in Russia may increase, but this figure will not reach the record highs in December, virologists predict. Experts also do not see the prerequisites for the start of the third wave of the spread of infection in our country. However, on January 10, the head of Rospotrebnadzor announced that the first case of a “British”, more contagious strain of coronavirus had been detected in Russia. According to the statistics of the headquarters, on Sunday 22,851 new cases of infection were recorded in the Russian Federation – this is the smallest number of COVID-19 infected since mid-November last year. The situation can be expected to stabilize by the summer, when more than 20-30 million people will be vaccinated in the country. Now, according to the Ministry of Health, only a little more than a million citizens are vaccinated in Russia.
The New Year holidays helped to stop the spread of coronavirus infection, said Pavel Volchkov, head of the MIPT genomic engineering laboratory.
“Some people complain about the long New Year holidays, but the holidays have become partly a protective measure,” he explained. – Due to these days, which many actually spent in self-isolation, the epidemiological period that began in the fall broke. Any reduction in social contacts always has a positive effect on epidemic statistics.…
Indeed, over the past day in Russia, according to the operational headquarters for combating the spread of a new type of infection, 22,851 new cases of coronavirus infection were detected. Most of the cases are in Moscow (4216), St. Petersburg (3010) and the Moscow region (1292). On January 10, 456 deaths were recorded, and a total of 61,837 Russians have died from the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic. The growth in the number of infected, judging by the daily statistics of the headquarters, stopped during the New Year holidays. The record for the number of infected was recorded on December 24 – 29,935 cases. On December 31 of last year, 27,747 cases were detected, and in the first ten days of January, the incidence rate only decreased.
– In the last month of the year, the numbers were high, but since mid-December the situation has stabilized, we have reached a plateau. At the end of December, the number of cases began to decline, and this decline continued in the first week of January, the expert stated.
Wherein Pavel Volchkov reads an increase in the incidence of coronavirus in Russia in the second half of January due to an increase in social activity. But this process will no longer be as dramatic as it was in the spring and autumn, when the children went to school en masse.
“I think that in January the incidence rates will be less than in December,” the scientist said. According to him, three components will affect the decrease in the incidence: an increase in the number of patients who have been ill, quarantine measures at various levels and mass vaccination.
Stability is lacking
The official statistics of early January 2021 should not be taken literally, believes Sergey Netesov, Head of the Laboratory of Biotechnology and Virology at the Faculty of Natural Sciences of NSU, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He recalled that in Russia, all the first 10 days of the new year, diagnostic laboratories did not work at full capacity and, in all likelihood, did not carry out the amount of testing that they do on weekdays. In addition, in his opinion, in most cities of Russia, no special additional restrictive measures were taken to spread the coronavirus infection. At the same time, people celebrated the New Year with feasts, went to visit each other, and walked.
– From Monday we are entering a normal working regime, and next week will show the real situation in terms of the number of patients. I will be very happy if these numbers do not increase, – said Sergei Netesov.
In his opinion, the epidemiological situation in Russia is still far from stable.
– Even according to the most rough estimates, from 20 to 25% of Russians were infected over the past year. This figure is based on data on the occurrence of antibodies in different groups of the population of Russia. These indicators are not enough for the situation to stabilize. At the same time, this figure is already very significant, and given the fact that vaccination has begun, I believe that January should not break December’s records for the number of infected. But the final January figures will be close to the December ones, – said the source of Izvestia.
Sergey Netesov is convinced that the upcoming large-scale vaccination should have an impact on curbing the spread of coronavirus infection.
– It will become clear when more than 20-30 million people are vaccinated. Now, according to the Ministry of Health, only slightly more than a million are vaccinated in Russia. Of course, this is not enough to stop the epidemic, the expert explained.
According to his prognosis, based on the dynamics of morbidity and anti-epidemic measures, in April-May, the spread of coronavirus infection should slow down, and this summer the number of cases will be less than in the same period last year. But this will happen, Sergei Netesov is convinced, provided that vaccination will proceed at a faster pace, at least 5-10 million people a month.
In the fall of 2021, the virologist believes, an increase in the incidence along with other acute respiratory viral infections should be expected, but it will not be as significant as last year. Firstly, by this time the total number of people who have had coronavirus infection will be close to half of the country’s population, and secondly, the effect of vaccination will also appear.
So far, there are no grounds for weakening anti-epidemic measures, Sergei Netesov is convinced. Therefore, you need to continue to wear masks, change them more often, wash your hands after contact with door handles, handrails and railings, maintain social distance, and limit face-to-face communication.
It’s about the strains
The beginning of the new year has become difficult for European countries. On January 8, a record high number of cases of infection was detected in the UK – more than 68 thousand.On this day, the coronavirus infection claimed the lives of 1,325 Britons – this is the highest figure for the kingdom since the beginning of the pandemic.
The third wave is currently underway in Great Britain, and so far its end is not in sight, says Sergei Netesov. The reason, in his opinion, is in the new variant of the coronavirus, the increased infectiousness of which was initially underestimated.
The new strain has already been identified in Russia, said on January 10 the head of the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Welfare Anna Popova on January 10. He was found in a Russian citizen who returned from the UK
– The planes flew daily between our countries in October, November, early December. Apparently, in our country this strain is not spreading as fast as in Europe. So the decision to terminate flights between Russia and Great Britain was absolutely correct, – Sergey Netesov assessed.
As of January 5, 2021, the British variant of covid has been found in 40 other countries and regions, and the South African variant has been found in six, according to WHO. Due to the unfavorable epidemic situation, some countries have strengthened or extended restrictive measures. On January 5, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced in a televised speech that residents of the country should not leave their homes for more than an hour a day and for strictly specified activities: exercise, shopping for food or providing assistance. In Germany, the nationwide lockdown will last at least until the end of January. In the Netherlands, a strict quarantine began in December, the end of which is still scheduled for January 19. The Israeli authorities are introducing a two-week lockdown in the country – it will take effect at midnight Thursday, January 7. Due to the danger of the spread of a more infectious strain of coronavirus, the Danish authorities announced restrictions on entry and exit before January 17.
In general, in the world, according to Hopkins University, the number of victims of the new coronavirus has already approached 2 million people, and the number of people infected – to 90 million.
Most European countries introducing new restrictions are struggling with the unpredictability of the coronavirus, believes Pavel Volchkov, head of the MIPT genomic engineering laboratory. Any new information about the emergence of a new strain with a high spreading rate, first of all, frightens the governments, because they planned and put into their system the reactions for a certain scenario. States are afraid of unpredictable situations, so they begin to close borders, Pavel Volchkov explained.