With the widespread National Vaccination Program, 54.7% of Malaysians have been fully vaccinated — leaving a glimmer of hope in each sector, be it the industrial and trade sector or the education sector. Things definitely would come back to normal with schools being reopened according to the National Recovery Program and dine-in activities being reopened to individuals who have been fully vaccinated, bringing more joy to restaurant owners who have been left in the dark for a long time.
But, here’s the catch!
There is a huge possibility that for the next six months, things might take a horrendous turn and if we’re not careful, we might end up being back to square one. This would definitely be an unwanted effect from all the sacrifices made by staying confined within the four walls of our houses and straining our eyes and backs from the numerous Zoom video calls made pertaining to both education and work. Well, scientists have definitely made it clear that the next 6 months would be gruesome. So, buckle up and get ready to know what to expect for the next 6 months:
More Outbreaks In Classrooms, Public Transportation & Workplaces
With the government pushing for a speedy and hasty recovery of the economy and social sectors, it’s to no doubt a terrifying step that have been chided by some parties who were concerned about their own health and safety. Talking about workplaces, there is a risk of employers forcing their employees to work even when they’re not fully vaccinated. This would not only cause an outbreak in workplaces and offices, but public transportation services would also be affected as a Domino effect out of this mistake. These workers, generally go to work using public transportation, and by getting infected with Covid-19 in the workplace, they would thereafter spread it to other public transportation users!
Now, here’s the worst part, by opening up schools, the government has once again made a grave mistake by doing so. Children, are not vaccinated against Covid-19 and by just vaccinating the teachers and adult staff of the school compound, it might not work out in the end — exposing vulnerable children to the dangers of the virus. This would result in abrupt school closures just a mere number of days post-reopening. Classes would be cancelled too as a result. Over here, we might see children and students being forced to undergo another few months of online classes due to the instability of the health situation in the country.
Fully Vaccinated Nursing Home Residents Would Be Facing Renewed Fears Of Infection
Nursing home residents are definitely in the list of vulnerable groups of people with a high likeliness of them contracting the virus. These people, which largely comprise of elderly people are more susceptible to the Covid-19 variants in comparison to younger people. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults are more likely to get severely ill from COVID-19, requiring hospitalisation, intensive care, and a ventilator to help them breathe.
They are also at higher risk of death, if they get infected. As per CDC, over 80% of COVID-19 deaths occur in people over age 65, and more than 95% in people older than 45. Besides that, older people also appear to be more susceptible to breakthrough infections. “Even if they are vaccinated, older populations are potentially more susceptible to the new ‘more transmissible’ variants, than younger individuals”, said study’s senior author Fikadu Tafesse.
Get Infected More Than Once Or Get Vaccinated
In Malaysia, although our vaccination rate seems promising, the rise of strangely contagious variants which have a higher rate of transmission would cause many of us to get infected more than once. Previous victims of the Covid-19 virus might have to undergo a second round of infection due to the variants’ high transmission rate. So, this means that, even if you’re vaccinated, you might still get the virus, but this time, you’ll only have mild symptoms. There are three possibilities here — getting vaccinated, getting infected (possibly, more than once) or getting both!
But with the emergence of far deadlier variants, scientists are prepared to brace the situation where the vaccines might not be effective in combatting against those variants. The race between the waves of transmission that lead to new variants and the battle to get the globe inoculated won’t be over until the coronavirus has touched all of us.
Even as immunisation rates rise, there will always be people who are vulnerable to the virus: Newborn babies, people who can’t or won’t get inoculated, and those who get vaccinated but suffer breakthrough infections as their protection levels ebb.
Some researchers say that Covid-19 is poised to become completely resistant to the first generation of vaccines. A study from Japan, which has yet to be published or peer-reviewed, suggests that potentially dangerous mutations in the delta variant are already being picked up in a global database used to track such developments. Reports of current strains breaking through vaccinations or triggering higher fatality rates have not held up to rigorous scrutiny thus far.
Another Scary Virus Might Appear, Making The Leap From Animals Into Humans
Other even grimmer possibilities for the coming months include the emergence of a novel influenza virus or another coronavirus making the leap from animals into humans. Kanta Subbarao, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for Reference and Research on Influenza at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne said, “As long as there are animal reservoirs of coronavirus there is still the possibility that another zoonotic coronavirus could emerge in the future. There is that in the background, the risk of still dealing with this one when another one emerges.”
Taking all of this into consideration, it is crystal clear that we should always stay vigilant and try our very best to prevent ourselves from getting Covid-19. With the emergence of new variants, the current vaccines might not be sufficient to combat the virus.
So, follow the strict Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and only go out when necessary. Also, for parents with children who have not been vaccinated, it’s best not to bring them out for dine-in services in restaurants.
Source: The Edge Malaysia