Plateau or early: recovered closer to infected

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For several weeks in a row, the number of cases of COVID-19 in Russia does not exceed 27-28 thousand people. Experts say with great caution that there is a trend towards stabilization of the situation. According to the forecast of scientists from the Center for Intellectual Logistics of St. Petersburg State University, a decline in the incidence curve is expected on December 21-22. Moreover, according to experts, it is not at all necessary that the New Year holidays will entail a new wave – the restrictive measures taken may well keep the situation under control, but only if they are strictly observed. Experts have high hopes for the vaccine. On Monday, December 14, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) announced that the effectiveness of the domestic drug “Sputnik V” was 91.4%, and in severe cases of the disease – 100%.

A fragile trend

On December 14, the headquarters for combating the spread of coronavirus infection recorded 27,328 new cases of COVID-19.

For the first time, the mark of 27 thousand cases was crossed on November 27. The day before there were 25,487 patients. Since then, the number of sick people per day has been stable at a maximum level of 26-28 thousand people. The exception was December 6 – then 20,039 new cases were identified.

“Today, in some regions, there has been a fragile tendency towards stabilization of the epidemiological process,” Alexander Gorelov, deputy director for scientific work of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of Rospotrebnadzor, told Izvestia. – But, unfortunately, moderate growth continues in most regions. The epidemic process is characterized by wavelike fluctuations in the daily incidence. This is due to the fact that Russia occupies a large territory and the conditions for the spread of infection in all regions are different. Therefore, the total number of cases is constantly changing.

According to the forecast of scientists from the Center for Intellectual Logistics of St. Petersburg State University, who have developed a new model for predicting the development of epidemics CBRR (Case-Based Rate Reasoning), in the period from 14 to 21 December Russia may reach a plateau in terms of the number of active cases – sick people.

The growth of this indicator is expected to slow down, and from the current value of 509,068 people will rise to about 514,000 people who are simultaneously ill by December 21, – says Victor Zakharov, Head of the Department of Mathematical Modeling of Energy Systems of St. Petersburg State University, Head of the Center for Intellectual Logistics of St. Petersburg State University. – After December 21-22, a decline will begin, that is, Russia will pass a peak in the number of active cases.

Earlier, experts in an interview with Izvestia predicted that the plateau should be expected by the end of December.

– The concept of “plateau” in the case of any pandemic implies a fairly long period, which can vary depending on the country or region. It is worth waiting another one and a half to two weeks and follow the development of the situation in order to make more accurate forecasts, says Vladislav Mohamed Ali, medical director of the SberZdorovye service.

It is difficult to say for sure whether there will be an increase in the incidence after the New Year holidays. It depends on many factors, the main of which is compliance with restrictive recommendations, stressed Alexander Gorelov.

The score is equal

A plateau stage is considered to be a situation when the number of cases is approximately equal to the number of recovered patients, Olga Shuppo, scientific director of the Grand Clinic network of immunorehabilitation and preventive medicine clinics, explained to Izvestia. She also believes that it is already possible to say that Russia is reaching a plateau of morbidity. According to the headquarters, for the entire period of the epidemic, approximately 2 million 681 COVID-19 patients were registered, and 2 million 124 thousand were discharged.

The All-Russian Union of Patients (VSP) is confident that the prerequisites for improving the epidemiological situation have now emerged.

Judging by the feedback from the regions, there is no longer such a rapid increase in the number of cases, and doctors are less sick. The healthcare system is adapting – the shifts of doctors are competently lined up, the work of specialists in the red zones– said the co-chairman of the SCJ Yan Vlasov.

True, according to him, in many regions the situation is still difficult – for example, in Chita and Kurgan.

In the Moscow region, the number of cases is insignificant, but is still growing, but Moscow has been quite confidently holding the plateau stage for more than a month, Olga Shuppo added.

In autumn and winter, the availability and quality of diagnostics, including tests, increased significantly, due to which the statistics on the incidence rate became higher, the doctor noted.

“I don’t think that the high level of deaths from the coronavirus is due to the reluctance of people to go to the hospital at the first stage of the disease,” Olga Shuppo added. – In most mild cases of infection, it is better to be treated at home: stay in bed, take antiviral drugs and symptomatic drugs prescribed by your doctor. The most important thing is to start treatment immediately, without waiting for the worsening of the situation. The main mistake of citizens is late treatment, not late hospitalization.

Sputnik effect

December 14 NITsEM named after N.F. The Gamaleis of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and the Russian Direct Investment Fund announced that the effectiveness of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine was 91.4% at the final checkpoint in the third phase of the drug study.

At the same time, against severe cases, it reached 100%, added to the RDIF. Among the confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, 20 severe cases of the disease were recorded in the placebo group, while there were no severe cases of the disease in the group receiving the vaccine, they noted there.

“As vaccination expands, the rate of the epidemiological process will undoubtedly slow down,” noted Alexander Gorelov. – But one should not expect a momentary effect, since protective antibodies are produced on average 35-42 days after the introduction of the second dose (vaccination is carried out on a two-dose schedule with an interval of three weeks). As the population is covered with vaccinations, the intensity of the epidemiological process will decrease. Desired coverage is at least 70-75%.

The mass effect of vaccination should not be expected until spring, says Vladislav Mohamed Ali. He also expressed the hope that with the implementation of mass vaccinations and the development of herd immunity to COVID-19 next year, the current rise may well be the last in the number of daily recorded cases. In the future, in his opinion, coronavirus infection will become about the same common occurrence for the whole world as seasonal flu and ARVI, the peak incidence of which occurs in the autumn and winter months.

– We must not forget that at the moment about half of Muscovites already have protective antibodies even without vaccination, but in reality the indicator may turn out to be even higher. In the regions, this statistics is less, since the spread of infection in them fell on the second wave, added Olga Shuppo.

She explained that the formed antibodies prevent the development of the disease and block the risk of re-infection. If a person falls ill again, it is more likely the activation of other viruses against the background of a previous infection due to suppression of the immunity of COVID-19. At the same time, IgM antibodies, which can be used to diagnose an alleged re-infection, can stay in the blood during coronavirus infection for a rather long time – more than two months, the expert concluded.

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