A subject of interest to us all was the topic at the Thursday, December 16, meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC). The PCEC welcomed back Professor Andy Barraclough for another of his interesting and informative presentations. He has spoken to the Club several times, including a talk last March about “Covid-19 Vaccines – Fears, Facts, and Fiction” and “Coronavirus – the Known and the Unknown” in April 2020. Additionally, he has previously given talks on the following topics: what vaccines are beneficial for expats living in Thailand; misleading information about vaccines; tuberculosis; and dengue fever.
He is the Emeritus Professor of Public Health and Director of Training at the Empower School of Health. He regularly hosts and presents webinar conferences and on-line trainings through both the Empower School of Health and the World Health Organization.
He began with his usual disclaimers noting that he is not giving medical advice and his presentation is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Further, he discloses the organizations with he has a financial interest or relationship with regard to the subject matter of his presentation.
Professor Andy gave an overview of the number of Covid cases worldwide followed with a similar overview of the number vaccinated pointing out that there are large areas of the world, mostly low-income countries, with very low vaccination levels. He then presented definitions for the terms Endemic (a disease that is constantly present in a community), Epidemic (an outbreak that is widespread throughout a community), and Pandemic (an outbreak that spreads throughout the world) and more fully described what these terms meant.
He mentioned that it is most likely that countries will reach an endpoint, where Covid-19 becomes endemic and societies decide—much as they have with respect to influenza and other diseases—that the ongoing burden of disease is low enough that Covid-19 can be managed as a constant threat rather than an exceptional one.
He then discussed the various aspects of the Covid-19 situation around the world, the efforts or lack thereof that has hampered vaccination programs, and the current outlook. As to “When Does it End?” he noted there is no scientific information/data to guide us which means it is time for him to “Read the Tea Leaves” and provide his opinion on what will happen.
Primarily, he thinks that Covid-19, like influenza will continue, like old soldiers, to never die, but just slowly fade away. It will cease to be a Pandemic when it reaches an acceptable level of risk which is a social rather than a medical decision. However, the social decision will most likely be country by country rather than universal (normalcy). His prediction is that it will be achieved by high income countries in the first quarter of 2022 and globally in 2024. He said it is possible that annual vaccinations, as with influenza, will be needed. Further, it is possible that a combined vaccine could be developed for both influenza and Covid.
You can watch the presentation on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUIWe42VCbU.
After the presentation, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on the latest events. This was followed by Brian Maxey conducting the Open Forum where attendees can make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club.