“We are in a race, a race between the speed of vaccination and the potential growth in the number of cases,” Dr. Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s representative to WHO and the president of the Romanian Society for Microbiology, said on Digi24 on Wednesday evening. The professor spoke about the possible third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic in Romania and ways of avoiding it, ziare.ro reports.
According to the professor, one of the “blackest” scenarios, presented by the National Institute for Public Health (INSP), shows a 4 percent increase in the number of daily infections, which may lead to an average of about 9,000 new cases registered on a single day in the middle of March. According to another, milder scenario of the ISPN, the number of daily infections will grow by 2 percent a day, which could lead to 4,600 new cases a day until March 20. The best scenario predicts a 1 percent growth in cases, which could mean 3,300 new daily cases in the middle of March.
Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s WHO representative, also explained how the country can avoid a third wave of the epidemic and how it can prepare for the scenarios foreseen by the INSP.
“First of all, the three scenarios of INSP simulate a similar growth trend that was registered in the last two weeks. Following this trend, we may reach a very small number of daily infections until March 20, or we could find ourselves in an extreme situation, with more than 8,000 cases a day,” Alexandru Rafila said, adding that he believes the middle scenario will happen, so Romania will have around 3,000 new cases a day at the middle of March.
“There are some important elements that I would like to emphasize. We are in a race, a race between the speed of vaccination and the potential growth in the number of cases. Practically, it is an inversely proportional system: The faster we vaccinate, the slower the increase will be. This does not depend only on us, but it depends on the quantity of vaccine Romania receives: If there is a certain shortage of vaccines, and we cannot vaccinate more than 35,000 people a day, surely April will bring a completely new situation because millions of vaccines will arrive in the country monthly. I think we should be preparing for that moment because if we don’t, we may find ourselves in a situation where we have more vaccines than people willing to get vaccinated,” the doctor explained.
Alexandru Rafila also pointed out the importance of continued compliance with sanitary measures to limit transmission. “Limiting transmission means that people try to maintain the same type of behavior,” Alexandru Rafila explained on B1 TV.
The doctor, who is also a Social Democratic deputy, mentioned the fatigue of the population toward these sanitary measures, considering that these restrictions affect their lives. Rafila explained that a balance is needed for people to keep the rules that help fight the pandemic.
“Epidemic fatigue refers to people growing tired of following the safety rules. We should take this into consideration. In order to avoid this fatigue, it would be beneficial to take measures that do not aggravate people’s dissatisfaction or frustration. A balance must exist, as exaggerated measures can have negative effects,” Alexandru Rafila explained.
Photo: According to Dr. Alexandru Rafila, Romania’s WHO representative and the president of the Romanian Society for Microbiology, Romania will have around 3,000 new cases a day in March. Photo: Digi24