COVID-19 is more infectious but potentially less dangerous, two leading medical experts report.
This makes it less important to impose some previous precautions except in high-risk populations, reported Dr. Monica Gandhi and Dr. Jeanne Noble in a recent Time magazine article.
“Public-health measures should adjust accordingly….removing and reinstating COVID-19 restrictions based on metrics are no longer clinically relevant,” they said in the article titled “We need to rethink COVID-19 restrictions.”
Considering vaccination percentages, and the origins of the variant, the statistics should no longer be guided by number of infections due to the fact that very few cases represent extreme illness, the article said.
The Delta and Omicron variants produced a very high percentage of asymptomatic or mild effects on the vaccinated population, which should not be counted as failures, the story stated. The large numbers of mild cases are the result of a highly effective vaccine. Not to mention that cases with critical COVID-19 symptoms are extremely rare among the fully-vaccinated, explains the article.
“Because so many vaccinated individuals may test positive for COVID-19 with few or no symptoms, the number of infections in a community no longer predicts the number of hospitalizations or deaths,” the article said.
Considering vaccination percentages, and the origins of the variant, the statistics should no longer be guided by number of infections due to the fact that very few cases represent extreme illness
The number of infections should not be considered the reason for lockdowns, masks or physical distancing mandates, the article reported.
The writers also mentioned and favored the method adopted by Singapore in September, which eased preventive measures.
A comparable approach to Omicron infections was recently put in practice in Marin County, location of San Quentin State Prison.
The article recommended stopping school closures or postponing sporting events just because of the multitude of asymptomatic testing. They also explain that most of the inconveniences inflicted on athletes, spectators and students can no longer be justified based only on the number of cases.
“Use of N95, KN95, KF94, FFP2, or even double surgical masks should be encouraged among select high-risk populations, but perpetual masking of entire populations is not sustainable or necessary,” wrote Dr. Gandhi and Dr. Noble. “We encourage the Biden Administration to take a rational approach to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022.”
Dr. Gandhi is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases, and Global Medicine at San Francisco General Hospital. Dr. Noble is associate professor of emergency medicine and director of COVID response at the University of California at San Francisco.